Health Information Exchange (HIE)

Health information exchange - both the noun and the verb - is a dynamic and evolving landscape. HIE is critical for successful healthcare reform, enabling interoperability and meaningful use of health IT, and HIMSS is here to help healthcare and health IT professionals understand all of the latest developments. Through our active volunteer groups, such as our Interoperability & HIE Community and the Interoperability & HIE Committee, we are engaging industry leaders year-round to develop the tools and resources you need!

Meaningful Use and Health Information Exchange

Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) are being developed as the infrastructure for data sharing between providers and to support access to the complete patient record across providers in many geographic regions of the country. HIEs will ultimately provide the vehicle for data sharing among provider practices and health systems through the Nationwide Health Information Network (NwHIN). HIMSS has been actively engaged with the development of HIEs and provides a wide range of tools and informational resources for professionals interested in HIE.

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What Is HIE?

HIE provides the capability to electronically move clinical information among disparate healthcare information systems, and maintain the meaning of the information being exchanged (HIMSS Dictionary of Healthcare Information Technology Terms, Acronyms and Organizations, Third Edition). The goal of HIE is to facilitate access to, and retrieval of, clinical data to provide safe, timely, efficient, effective, equitable and patient-centered care.

The term "HIE" can mean either the verb (the electronic exchange of health-related data) or the noun (organizations dedicated to the secure exchange of health-related data).

Looking for quick answers to basic questions about health information exchange?  Check out our FAQ: Health Information Exchange (HIE)!

Interoperability and Health Information Exchange Community

Our community serves as the central convening point for interoperability and health information exchange (HIE) professionals to promote meaningful education and thought leadership in the health IT industry. We connect professionals committed to transforming health through standards-based interoperability and HIE, with opportunities for networking with peers, sharing ideas, learning best practices, and leveraging collaborative opportunities.

Learn more about the I&HIE Community here.

HIE Toolkits

HIMSS gives you the tools you need to understand health information exchange in all healthcare settings. The following HIE Toolkits provide comprehensive fact sheets, analyses, checklists, white papers and other resources to help guide and inform professionals involved with HIE at all levels.

Health Information Exchange (HIE) Toolkit

Use the resources provided in the HIE Toolkit to guide your healthcare organization through the basics of understanding HIE concepts, build business and financial models around HIE sustainability, and develop technology strategies for HIE implementation. Access the Toolkit>

Ambulatory HIE Toolkit

The Ambulatory HIE Toolkit provides comprehensive HIE education for ambulatory and physician office practice professionals, including physicians, physician executives, practice administrators and practice IT support. Find relevant resources for all ambulatory practices, as well as for hospitals and health systems looking to educate their affiliated ambulatory practices about HIE. Access the Toolkit>

Enterprise HIE Toolkit

The Enterprise HIE Toolkit is a dedicated source for hospitals, health systems and private provider entities to learn about HIE, facilitating the launch and operation of an enterprise HIE organization or network. The education, tools and resources in this toolkit provide a comprehensive overview of HIE from an enterprise perspective, ranging from HIE introductory information to more advanced resources and valuable HIE business tools. Access the Toolkit>

HIMSS/NACCHO HIE Toolkit for Public Health

This HIMSS/NACCHO HIE Toolkit for Public Health> seeks to help public health departments understand HIE services and the types of organizations providing them, how a health department might use or support these services, and how to assess the value of participating in HIE.  It also seeks to orient HIE organizations to the functions and needs of health departments, and to their value as customers and partners in HIE. Access the Toolkit>

Interoperability Leading to Health Information Exchange

Interoperability Leading to Health Information Exchange

In an open letter to the Department of Health and Human Services in September 2014, HIMSS emphasized the need to focus on three key policy levers, one of which was interoperability leading to secure electronic exchange of health information. This goal is essential to enabling all individuals, their families, and their health care providers to have appropriate access to health information that facilitates informed decision-making, supports achieve coordinated health management, allows patients to be active partners in their health and care, and improves the overall health of our population

Interoperability in American History

Healthcare isn't the first industry that has faced the imperative for interoperable systems. American railroads were initially built to serve specific cities and their surrounding areas, with little thought to eventually connecting one to another. By the 1870s there were more than 20 different railroad gauges used across the country, making it impossible for trains to move from one area to the next. It wasn't until a common standard was established, and all railroad systems adapted to match this standard, that cross-continental travel and shipping could be achieved. 

In much the same way, the world has seen rapid growth in the sharing of electronic health information within individual health systems and organizations in recent years, but the standards used by one system cannot translate information to or from those used by other systems. Until a common set of standards is accepted and implemented across all healthcare settings, electronic health information cannot cross from one system to the next.

Visit the HIMSS Health Information Exchange (HIE) website to learn more about the electronic exchange of health-related data, as well as ongoing efforts to realize a fully integrated healthcare system.

ONC Resources

ONC HIT Dashboard
The Health IT Dashboard from ONC provides data visualizations for you to interact with open health IT data.

ONC Interoperability Proving Ground
The Interoperability Proving Ground (IPG) is an open, community platform where you can share, learn, and be inspired by interoperability projects occurring in the United States (and around the world).

ONC HIT Playbook

The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) developed this 1st edition of the Health IT Playbook to answer many of the questions that providers ask when implementing and using health IT.

SHIEC Resources

Interactive Map of SHIEC Members

An interactive map of SHIEC member Health Information Exchanges including contact information

Get Involved!

Get involved with the Interoperability & HIE Committee, Task Forces, and Work Groups!

Interoperability & HIE Committee

The Interoperability & Health Information Exchange (HIE) Committee seeks to further advance the HIMSS strategic topic of semantic interoperability and standardization leading to successful health-related data exchange and re-use of health information.

The HIE Case Studies Task Force

Volunteers on this HIMSS Task Force focus on identifying, researching and compiling a compendium of case studies to demonstrate how HIE/HIOs are bringing value and impact to the health IT industry. The goal is to promote an in-depth look at specific HIE and health IT organizations, highlighting their success stories, lessons learned and best practices and translating these examples into resources for the industry.

I&HIE Non-Profit Partner Roundtable

HIMSS HIE Non-Profit Partners enjoy an exclusive membership and a unique role within the I&HIE Community. Monthly Roundtable calls facilitate connections with other industry leaders focused on innovating, collaborating and advancing health information exchange across the nation, and membership is FREE for one individual (with discounted membership for 5 additional members of your organization!). Learn more about the HIE Non-Profit Partner membership here.

Get Involved with I&HIE Volunteer Opportunities


 To learn more about HIMSS Health Information Exchange activities, please contact us.

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