Secure Information Sharing
To better track and securely share patients’ complete medical histories, many health care providers are securely sharing patient health information electronically or participating in health information exchange (HIE). This helps facilitate better coordinated patient care, reduce duplicative treatments and avoid costly mistakes. An organization separate from a hospital system or health plan that facilitates the secure sharing of patient information is called a health information organization (HIO). In Arizona, patients of providers who participate in an HIO must be provided a patient notification process that includes receipt of a Notice of Health Information Practices and the opportunity to “opt out.” In an HIO, a patient’s health information is automatically shared with authorized health care providers, unless they “opt out” which means that their information is not shared among their providers.
Benefits of secure sharing of information
When providers securely share patient information, this not only eliminates the back and forth of faxes and phone calls, it also means that appointments don’t need to be rescheduled or delayed because records or tests results have not arrived.
Patient safety is enhanced when providers have access to all of their patient’s records, especially in an emergency.
Providers are able to better coordinate a patient’s care when they are able to securely share records and have a complete picture of a patient’s history, records and test results at the point of care.
Your Rights in Arizona Regarding Secure Electronic Information Sharing
If you do nothing and your information is securely shared with your health care providers, you may:
1. Ask for a copy of your medical information that is available to be shared.
2. Request to have any information corrected.
3. Ask for a list of providers who have viewed your information.
You have the right under article 27, section 2 of the Arizona Constitution to keep your medical information from being shared electronically. Specifically, you may:
1. “Opt out” of having your information available for sharing. To opt out, you must ask your provider for the Opt-Out Change form. After you submit the form, your information will not be available for sharing; however, there are risks in preventing your health care providers from securely sharing your health care information, especially in an emergency.
2. Choose to exclude some information from being shared. For example, if you see a clinician and you do not want that information shared, you can prevent it. On the Opt-Out Change form, fill in the information and name of the provider for the information that you do not want shared. Caution: If that provider works for an organization (like a hospital or a group of physicians), all your information from that hospital or medical practice may be blocked from view.
3. Change your mind at any time. If you say no today, you can opt back in at any time. If you do nothing and allow your health records to be shared, you may “opt out” using the Opt-Out Change form.
For information on your rights regarding electronic information sharing, see FAQs.