A Practical Guide to Understanding HIE, Assessing Your Readiness and Selecting HIE Options in Minnesota

Implementation, Maintenance, Measurement and Ongoing Improvement

Once you have selected a method for implementing HIE, such as a State-Certified HIE Service Provider, you must plan for the implementation, determine how you will maintain and measure the system, as well as plan for ongoing improvements.  


Create an implementation plan that meets your organization's needs. This plan might involve taking a phased approach that allows you to focus on certain clinical functions first and then adding other functions as the staff grows more comfortable. You should include within this plan:

  • Issues tracking: Identify problems or concerns so you can track their resolution or plan for workarounds.   
  • Testing and go-live plan: Document how you will test the system prior to go-live. Testing should include technical, workflow and security functions. The go-live plan should include adequate support to immediately address any questions or issues.


Make sure to monitor workflows and related policies to ensure staff has adequate support, including ongoing training. Pay close attention to the following: 

  • Security: Carefully monitor security issues, especially when there are staff changes in your organization or your HIE trading partners change.
  • Business and technical relationships: Maintain strong relationships with your business (HIE trading partners) and technical (EHR and HIE vendors) partners. As the HIE landscape evolves and new HIE services are offered, you will need to evaluate what you need from both your business and technical partners.
  • Standards: Keep current on national standards to ensure your HIE technology and infrastructure are keeping pace with the industry. At the state level, the Minnesota e-Health Initiative monitors and makes recommendations for statewide adoption of specific standards. See the “Recommended Standards” guide for more information; this resource is updated annually.


You should measure or evaluate the impact of your HIE on a regular basis. The following are some questions to consider:

  • Are you sending or receiving the right information?
  • Is the information being used effectively both in your practice and that of your HIE trading partners?
  • Are you managing the information you receive effectively, i.e. incorporating the information into the EHR and using in clinical practice?
  • If you are reporting/sending information to external partners such as described in some of the earlier scenarios, i.e. sending immunization information to MIIC, are you getting back the information you need to continue to enhance patient care and improve your clinical/workflow processes?

Ongoing Improvements

Initially, you may only use HIE for high value/priority areas, but over time you may want to add more functionality (HIE transactions). As you do, you may need to consider whether your existing HIE intermediary or service provider is adequate, or if you need to find another one. Use this guide as a resource for helping you evaluate those options.

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Updated Friday, April 08, 2016 at 11:29AM