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 HIE Community and the new Interoperability & HIE Committee, we are engaging industry leaders year-round to develop the tools and resources you need!

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)!

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>

Get Involved!

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

Health Information Exchange Community

The HIMSS HIE Community provides professionals working in or hosting health information exchanges with opportunities for peer-to-peer networking, problem solving and education. This Community serves as the central convening point for HIE professionals to share ideas, make connections, learn best practices and leverage opportunities in a collaborative virtual community. Learn more about the HIE Community here.

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.

HIE Non-Profit Partner Roundtable

HIMSS HIE Non-Profit Partners enjoy an exclusive membership and a unique role within the 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.

HIE inPractice Task Force

HIMSS volunteers work to promote in-depth looks at specific HIE and health IT organizations, featuring success stories, lessons learned and best practices and turning information into essential tools and literature for the industry.

Chapter HIE Liaisons

Chapter HIE Liaisons have the unique opportunity to facilitate local, regional and state level HIE activities within their Chapter, working with their Chapter Advocacy Roundtable (CAR) and participating in national HIMSS HIE activities and events.

HIE Public Comment Work Group

A diverse cross-disciplinary group of volunteers representing the HIMSS HIE content area is key in supporting the HIMSS objective of being a leading industry resource in HIT and HIE. Public Comment Work Group Volunteers work with the HIMSS HIE content area to solicit and provide feedback on legislation and regulations impacting HIE.

Get Involved with HIE Volunteer Opportunities

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 Interoperability & Standards website to learn more about the current state of interoperability, as well as ongoing efforts to realize a fully integrated healthcare system.


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