Secure Health Information Exchange (HIE) Frequently Asked Questions
At Sutter Health, we’re committed to improving the quality and safety of care we provide to our patients. That’s why we have implemented Secure Health Information Exchange (HIE) – a set of tools which allows our clinicians to quickly get the comprehensive medical information they need to deliver personalized care to you in the moments that matter the most. For more information about Secure HIE and how it impacts you, please refer to the frequently asked questions below.
Q: What is Secure Health Information Exchange (HIE)?
A: Sutter Health’s Secure Health Information Exchange allows clinicians and others supporting patient care to securely share a patient’s vital medical information electronically among doctors’ offices, hospitals, pharmacies, laboratories, skilled nursing facilities, and other health care providers. Clinicians no longer need to rely on fax or postal mail to appropriately transfer patient records. Instead, caregivers in the Sutter Health network and other health systems can simply and securely send or download the information they need to provide patients the most coordinated care possible.
Q: When would Sutter Health share my health information?
A: To provide you with the safest, most effective and efficient care possible, authorized clinicians and care teams need a complete picture of your medical history—especially in emergencies, when every second counts. By using Secure Health Information Exchange, Sutter Health network clinicians can quickly get the medical information they need. Also when traveling or transitioning your care to other providers, health information exchange allows the information in your Sutter electronic health record (EHR) to travel with you, supporting care continuity.
By accessing your records through the health information exchange, doctors can also see your previous tests results and any medicines or treatments to ensure they order only what’s necessary. When clinicians have access to more complete information, they spend less time gathering records from different organizations and can focus on caring for you.
Below find some examples of when clinicians might share your medical history:
- Your primary care provider may directly send your health care summaries to a specialist.
- Emergency room care teams might adjust treatment plans to avoid adverse medication reactions or duplicative testing after reviewing your medications, recent radiology images or test results.
- If you suffered a stroke or a broken hip, your entire care team—from the emergency room to a rehabilitation facility—can access the relevant clinical information they need in a timely manner.
Privacy and Confidentiality
Who can access my health information and under what circumstances?
A: Federal and state privacy laws allow doctors, nurses and other caregivers to share health information only to support a patient’s medical treatment, as well as manage and obtain payment for the services provided.
Q: How is Sutter Health keeping my health information confidential and secure?
A: Only users with an authorized medical treatment or other legitimate business need can see your information. When accessing patient information, individuals are required by law and policy to view only the minimum information necessary to accomplish their needs. Sutter Health routinely audits users’ access to patient information to assure that these standards are upheld.
Q: Can I see who has accessed my information?
A: You can request an accounting of the use of your personal health information and of specific disclosures of information for purposes other than treatment, payment and health care operations. To learn more, please call the toll-free, Sutter Health Privacy Message Line at (855) 771-4220.
Q: Where is my information sent/shared?
A: If you received care at a Sutter Health facility and then receive care from another provider or organization, the other organization may be permitted to access information in your Sutter Health record to support and coordinate your care.
Q: What are the risks if I opt out?
A: If you choose to opt out of Secure Health Information Exchange, your health care team may not have all of the needed information to provide you the safest and most effective health care.
Q: Can my information be used for other purposes without my consent?
A: Sutter Health commits to safeguarding the privacy of our patients. Only users with an authorized medical treatment or other legitimate business need can see your information.
Q: Where do I go if I have questions or want additional information regarding opting out?
A: Call the toll-free, Sutter Health Privacy Message Line at (855) 771-4220.