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Background on the Problem

The United States has experienced significant advancements in medical diagnostics and treatments for complex health problems in recent years, but significant gaps remain in electronic information sharing between individual health care providers to inform such care.2

A patient’s protected health information (PHI) may exist in any number of formats and across a variety of care settings.3 Facilitating exchange of clinical health information is critical to ensuring that providers have the best information possible when making decisions about patient care, minimizing repetition and errors, ensuring high-quality transitions of care and lowering costs.4 The confluence of increasing pressure to achieve better health care outcomes at lower costs and robust technological advances in health IT should support increased information flow between providers, but significant barriers remain to widespread and meaningful provider adoption. After carefully analyzing and addressing patient privacy concerns, these barriers must be addressed to achieve interoperability.

Exchange of Health Information as a Component of Governors’ Vision for Better Health, Better Care and Lower Costs

Governors have powerful levers they may use to influence the legal and market dynamics that shape health care provider choices. In the current national health care environment, costs continue to rise; health care outcomes continue to fall behind other, similarly situated nations; and much of the information necessary to coordinate care and improve outcomes is not being meaningfully shared between providers.18 The vision of the road map is to help drive forward state policies that support the seamless flow of clinical patient health care information between providers while protecting patient privacy.