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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions for Patients, Providers and SHARE Users

What is the Office of Health Information Technology?

The Office of Health Information Technology, a division within the Arkansas Department of Health, was established to provide leadership for the development and implementation of a statewide health information exchange in Arkansas. The roles of the office are to coordinate health information technology planning, development, implementation and financing, and plan the development and operation of the SHARE, the health information exchange.

What is health information technology (HIT)?

Health Information Technology (HIT) is the electronic storage, retrieval, sharing and use of health care data for communication and decision-making.

What is a health information exchange (HIE)?

Health Information Exchange (HIE) provides the capability to electronically move clinical information between disparate health care information systems to facilitate access to and retrieval of clinical data, thereby helping to provide safer, timely, efficient, effective, equitable patient-centered care.

What is SHARE?

SHARE stands for State Health Alliance for Records Exchange (SHARE) which is a part of the Arkansas Department of Health. It is a system that connects your health care records between your providers. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other health care professionals.

How does SHARE work?

SHARE lets all members of your health care team who are connected to SHARE see your whole health history. When they can see these details, they have more information and can take better care of you. SHARE is the only system of its kind in Arkansas.

How is OHIT/SHARE Funded?

As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) provides OHIT with federal funds to assist with the implementation of the statewide health information exchange. The Office of Health Information Technology (OHIT), a Division of the Arkansas Department of Health collects user fees to cover any required State matches. Known as SHARE—the State Health Alliance for Records Exchange—the HIE allows participating providers and organizations to electronically access and share patient health information through a secure network, with the aim of improving patient safety, quality of care and health outcomes. The Office of Health Information Technology continues to plan a long-term funding model that will sustain OHIT and other SHARE services.

What is an electronic health record (EHR)?

An electronic record of patient health information, including patient demographics, notes, problems, medications, vital signs, medical history, immunizations, laboratory data, and radiology reports that has the ability to generate a complete record of a clinical patient encounter. Also known as an electronic medical record or EMR

How are EHRs used?

  • Results management: The ability for all doctors and other providers participating in the care of a patient in multiple settings to quickly access new and past test results will increase patient safety and effectiveness of care.
  • Orders management: The ability to enter and store orders for prescriptions, tests, and other services in a computer-based system will enhance legibility, reduce duplication and improve the speed with which orders are executed
  • Clinical decision support (CDS): Using reminders, prompts, and alerts, CDS will improve compliance with best clinical practices, ensure regular screenings and other preventive practices, identify possible drug interactions, facilitate diagnoses and treatments and reduce the frequency of adverse events
  • Electronic Communication and Connectivity: Improved communication among doctors, providers and other partners, such as laboratory, pharmacy, and radiology professionals, can enhance patient safety and quality of care. Electronic communication tools, such as e-mail and web messaging, have been shown to be effective in facilitating communication both among providers and with patients, thus allowing for greater continuity of care.
  • Patient support: Tools that give patients access to their personal health records and provide interactive patient education will encourage greater involvement of patients in their own health care.

Why do we need health information exchange (HIE)?

Patients usually visit many different providers and go to different locations to receive health care, including doctors, nurses, hospitals, nursing homes, community health centers, and pharmacies. Each provider and location keeps its own medical records on its patients but providers cannot readily access records and important information about their patients’ care from other locations. Doctors and other health care providers can give patients better care and avoid mistakes if they have access to patients’ medical history, such as lab tests, medication history, problem list, allergies, and other health reports. By having access to more complete medical history, providers and patients can make more informed decisions about the patient’s care plan, thus improving the quality of that care and avoiding medial errors.

Is my health info. Safe if I use SHARE?

SHARE follows all federal and state laws, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) which protect your health information. These laws require your provider to keep your information private. If they share your records with each other in other ways (such as faxing or mailing), it will not be as safe as using SHARE.

What parts of my health information is included in SHARE?

Lab results, x-ray results, medical diagnosis information, medication allergies, doctor’s notes, and medications can be available in SHARE. Each participating provider will decide what patient information, from this list, they will put into SHARE, and how far back that information will be dated.

If there’s a breach at another facility, will liability be shared amongst all the participants?

The answer is “No.”  If there is a data breach, the sending clinic would not be held responsible for the breach so long as the clinic has complied with all applicable law and policy. Only those participants and bad actors who have not complied with applicable law and policy will be held liable for any breach.

Can I access my SHARE record?

You will not be able to login to SHARE to access your health information—only authorized health care professionals can access SHARE. However, you may be able to view your aggregated records from other providers if you see a doctor that participates in SHARE and uses an electronic medical record system that is capable of pulling your record from SHARE for you to view.

Will all of my health information from the past be included in SHARE?

Not all of your health information from the past or present will be in SHARE. First, in order for your health information to be in SHARE, your health care providers must participate in SHARE, and you must give your providers consent to disclose your information through SHARE. Second, each participating health care provider decides what patient health information to put into SHARE, and how far back that data will reach. Some participating hospitals are pushing up to two years of patient data into SHARE (data from 2011 onward). Ask your participating provider what information they are sharing about you, and how far back the information dates.

Can I choose not to use SHARE?

Yes. If you do not want to use SHARE, tell your doctors’ offices that you want to “opt-out.”    They will update your health record at their office to show that you do not want your record shared with other providers. If you decide later that you do want to use SHARE, let your doctors’ offices know.

What happens if I opt-out of SHARE?

Your doctors may have a less complete record of your health. This means they may not have all the details they need to take the best care of you. Your health record may be sent from one provider to the next in less safe ways, such as faxing or mailing.

What is the process, supporting policy and procedure for highly sensitive Protected Health Information?

Information that is subject to special protection may not be included in SHARE. OHIT’s Privacy Policy 500 states that Participants should assume the following information is not available through SHARE: alcohol and substance abuse treatment records, records of predictive genetic testing performed for genetic counseling purposes, certain records of minors including diagnosis and treatment of suspected abuse. For more information, see the privacy policy (PDF).