For Patients 

The Florida Health Information Exchange (HIE) takes patient privacy very seriously and recognizes your right to decide who has access to your health information.

PATIENT PRIVACY FAQs

What is Health Information Exchange?

Health information exchange – both the noun and the verb – is a dynamic and evolving landscape.
Since 2011, The Florida Health Information Exchange (Florida HIE) has been enabling the secure exchange of health information between health care providers. Six years into the initiative, the Florida HIE continues to offer innovative solutions to meet provider, payer and patient needs by leveraging technology and proven national resources.

Why is the Florida HIE important to me?

Florida’s HIE allows your health care providers to access your health information quickly and give you the best care possible. It is easy to forget the details of your medical care. Florida HIE can improve the care you receive and remove burdensome practices such as…

  • Having to remember all of the medications you take or having to bring in all of your medications to your appointments
  • Bringing x-rays or other test results to a specialist or referral appointment
  • Having to remember what medical procedures or tests you have had performed
  • Having unnecessary or repeated tests

Allowing your doctors to share your health information improves the coordination of the care you receive from your family doctor and other specialists. Each doctor seeing you will know which tests or procedures you have received and the medicines you take.

What is an Electronic Health Record (EHR)?

In the past, health care providers kept your health information in paper form. Today more doctors and hospitals are using computers to keep patient health information and record the treatment they receive. There are many systems that perform these functions and they are called Electronic Health Records or EHRs. An EHR contains the same information as your paper health record and is stored by your doctor in a computer. Information contained in your EHR may include…

  • Basic demographic information (your name, date of birth, address and phone number)
  • Medical history and diagnosis
  • Medications you are taking
  • Allergies
  • Lab and test results
  • Summaries of hospital visits
  • Immunization records
What are the advantages of having an Electronic Health Record (EHR)?
  • EHRs can save you time, reducing how many forms you must fill out about your medical history or past medical procedures.
  • EHRs store information about the medicines you take, making it possible for you to visit your doctor without bringing all of your medications. EHRs can also check to make sure the medicines you take do not interact in a harmful way.
  • EHRs can provide alerts to your doctors about tests you may need or follow up care to be provided.
  • EHRs ensure there is a safe copy of your health record in case of fire or other natural disasters.
  • EHRs make it faster and easier for emergency rooms to find important health information about you in the event of a medical emergency.
  • EHRs provide privacy by limiting who can see your health information and by tracking who has seen your health information.
How is my health information and privacy protected?
  • The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)
    • HIPAA protects your privacy and personal health information stored by your health care providers and applies not only to paper records but electronic records as well. HIPAA also requires your health care providers to give you a Notice of Privacy Practices (or Patient Notice). This notice will tell you what rights you have as a patient when it comes to your health information and how it is shared by your health care providers. Even if your health care provider is not a member of the Florida HIE Services, your health care providers must give you their Notice of Privacy Practices.
  • The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH)
    • HITECH provides additional rules and security standards to protect your health information when it is in an electronic format such as an EHR. The Florida HIE meets or exceeds the national and state standards for the security of electronic health information.
How does your doctor use the Florida Health Information Exchange (HIE) Services?

The Florida HIE makes it easy for your health care providers to securely exchange health information with other providers who are involved in your care. Once you have authorized access to your clinical data (including charts, medications, procedure list, lab results, and more), health care providers will be better prepared to offer safe, efficient, and effective medical care.

The Florida HIE offers three services that allow for the secure exchange of health information.

  1. Event Notification Service (ENS) provides health plans with patient authorized notifications about hospital discharges and emergency department visits. This allows health plans to better engage in member care coordination and ensure proper follow-up care is received.
  2. Direct Messaging is an email service that enables participants to safely and securely send and receive messages and attachments containing your health information.
  3. Query Solutions allows health care organizations that have your consent to look for and pull your medical records from other organizations that have also provided you with health care. This allows your provider to have a better overall picture of your health.
How is your medical information kept private?

The Florida Health Information Exchange (HIE) takes patient privacy very seriously and recognizes your right to decide who has access to your health information. The Florida HIE follows all State and Federal laws, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), to protect patient health information.

In addition to privacy and security protections outlined by law, the infrastructure of the Florida HIE offers additional protections. The only users who can view your data are legally authorized to do so under HIPAA laws and regulations. To share and access your data, each health care provider establishes a direct secure connection called a VPN that protects against anyone unauthorized to access your data

Do health care organizations need authorization to access your health information?

Yes. Health care providers that want to retrieve your health information from another provider using the Query Solutions service must have your consent before they can send or receive your information.

Health care providers may use Query Solutions to access your health records in a medical emergency without your authorization, only if you are unable to respond and a family member is unavailable to provide consent on your behalf. A medical emergency means that you have symptoms that could place your health in serious jeopardy, including damage to organs or bodily functions.

How do you authorize your provider to access your health information?

An authorization form can be used by you or your authorized legal representative to allow a health care provider to obtain your health records from another provider through the Florida HIE. The Full Disclosure Authorization Form allows a patient to choose which providers may access their health information. This authorization form (or its legal equivalent) must be used by providers participating in the Florida HIE.

More information about Florida HIE policies can be found on our 
Information for Consumers and Patients page.

PATIENT RESOURCES

Are you hearing that your health and medical records may become available online?

Have you heard your doctor talk about electronic health records (EHRs), but aren’t sure what that means for you? This is all part of health IT. Watch this 3 minute video to find out how health IT—including EHRs—can help provide a complete and secure picture of your medical records. Learn about the future of health IT and how you may be able to securely access your family’s medical records online, schedule doctor appointments online, review health test results online, and track chronic conditions with your doctor without having to make the trip to the doctor’s office. Interested in learning more about the benefits of electronic health records and health IT for you and your family?