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Health Information Exchange (HIE) at UC San Diego Health

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If you are a patient at UC San Diego Health, your electronic health information is automatically enrolled in a health information exchange so that your vital health data can be securely made available to doctors – no matter where you receive care.

Health information exchanges exist to improve the quality, safety and cost-effectiveness of healthcare. UC San Diego Health currently participates in two health information exchanges:

  • Epic’s Care Everywhere, which allows your provider to query other treatment centers that use Epic platforms for electronic medical recorder keeping
  • San Diego Health Connect, which connects different hospital systems, medical practices and health care organizations in San Diego and Imperial counties  

What Does This Mean to You as a Patient?

By participating in a health information exchange, doctors and other health care personnel are permitted to use and share your health information through a health exchange network for HIPAA-permitted purposes only. 

Your electronic health information is made accessible only to doctors and health care personnel providing you with medical care. Your electronic health information is stored only within each treating provider’s secure electronic medical record system.

The two health information exchanges that UC San Diego Health participates in only store your identifying information and some markers about where you have received care. The health information exchanges do not store any clinical information about you. They are only a means of exchanging information.

This means that UC San Diego Health may share your personal health information with:

  • Providers who are treating you
  • The San Diego Immunization Registry
  • San Diego County Public Health services as mandated by federal and state laws

What Information Is “Exchanged”?

At a minimum, lists of your ongoing health conditions, medications, and allergies are shared with other participating providers. Your lab and procedure results and physician notes can be exchanged with some but not all health information exchange participants. 

What Information Is Not Exchanged? 

Certain types of sensitive health information (such as psychotherapy notes, records of substance use treatment, and genetic testing) may not be disclosed under federal laws without the patient's prior written authorization.

Opting Out of the Health Information Exchange

Your or your personal representative may elect to opt out of health information exchanges at any time and without any effect on your access to care at UC San Diego Health. Opting out prevents your personal health information from being shared in the health information exchanges, with two exceptions:  

  • The opt out right does not apply when the disclosure is made to public health authorities and the purpose of the disclosure is permitted by both HIPAA and applicable California law
  • Your information may also be disclosed through a health information exchange to facilitate emergency medical treatment 

Your opt-out notification will apply to both Care Everywhere and San Diego Health Connect. Please allow up to two business days for processing an opt-out request.

How to Opt Out or Opt in

You may chose one of the following three methods to notify UC San Diego Health of your decision to opt out of or opt in to the health information exchanges: 

  • Submit an online opt out form using your MyUCSDChart account:
    • Log in to http://myucsdchart.ucsd.edu
    • From the Menu, choose Sharing Hub under the Sharing section.
    • Select sharing your health information with "A health care provider"
    • Select "Health Information Exchange sharing options" in the next section to access an online form
  • Contact a staff member at the UC San Diego Health Medical Records office during business hours at 619-543-6700
  • Print out and complete an opt-out or opt-in form. Mail to the address on the form.
  • Informing Individuals of Their Right To Opt Out of Health Information Exchanges

    UC San Diego Health will notify individuals or their personal representatives about:

    • The benefits of the health information exchanges 
    • An individual’s right to opt out of the health information exchanges and the potential consequences
    • An individual’s right to rescind a previous decision to opt out
    • The process of exercising the right to opt out or rescind a previous decision to opt out

    For patients that do not opt out, health care participants are permitted to use and share patient information through the health information network for any HIPAA-permitted purpose. Additionally, California state law allows mental health patient information, pharmacy records, communicable disease records, and home health care records to be accessed and disclosed for permitted purposes through the health information exchange network, except that participants may not make available to the health information exchange any psychotherapy notes, substance abuse treatment records, or other types of health information that may not be disclosed under applicable federal laws without the patient's prior written authorization.

    FAQs

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    Why is health information exchange important?

    The exchange of health information helps improve the quality of patient care and reduces costs in the following ways:
    • With health information from outside sources, your health care providers may get a more complete picture of your medical history and have it all in one place, reducing the likelihood of conflicting diagnoses, prescriptions and treatment plans.
    • It helps to get your health information to your providers quickly. This means less time searching, calling and faxing your information. You may avoid unnecessary return visits if your providers have near-immediate access to medical information necessary for your care.
    • With access to your medical records, your health care provider may not need to order tests or procedures that you have already completed at another medical facility.
    • If you see multiple doctors who participate in the health information exchange, they will be able to see a more complete picture of your health, and make more informed treatment decisions. The goal is for you to receive coordinated care more efficiently.

    Who from “outside” health care organizations?

    The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) prohibits health care providers from sharing your personal health information for most purposes other than treatment, payment, or health care operations without first obtaining special written authorization from you to do so. As a result, only participating HIE organizations that require your personal health information for purposes of treatment, or for verifying public or private insurance coverage, can request your information.

    How does UC San Diego Health ensure the privacy and security of my health information, especially when it is being transferred or exchanged?

    Your health information is protected by advanced systems that use many security measures. All systems must comply with the privacy and security provisions of HIPAA and similar state laws that may apply.

    Can I opt out of one exchange and still participate in another exchange, or share one type of health information (lab results) but not another (ongoing conditions list)?

    At this time, if you decide to opt out of exchanging your information because of concern about a particular type of information or provider, none of your information will be shared through our health information exchange network. In other words, opting out is an “all or nothing” concept and you cannot choose particular providers or types of information for electronic exchange and reject others. For example, if you opt out of health information exchange because you object to the sharing of your ongoing conditions list, neither your ongoing conditions list nor any other type of protected health information will be available for electronic exchange with any other health information exchange participant.

    If I opt out of UC San Diego Health’s networks, does that mean I have opted out of all outside health information exchange networks?

    No. Completion of UC San Diego Health’s opt out form does not opt you out of other health information exchanges in which UC San Diego Health providers are not participants. If you wish to opt out of another network, you are responsible for arranging that according. By opting out of our network, your health information will not be electronically shared by UC San Diego Health with outside organizations requesting this information through the health information exchange. But it may be sent to outside health care providers or organizations by other means such as fax or mail, if requested by your health care provider.

    Does opting out of the health information exchange impact my care at UC San Diego Health?

    Your choice to opt-out of the health information exchange will not affect your ability to access medical care. Opting-out will not prevent your caregivers from sharing your health information with authorized entities when necessary for public health or research purposes that are permitted or required by state and federal law. In cases of medical emergency, your doctor may request to view your health record to diagnose or treat your emergency medical condition and UC San Diego Health will make your records available under such circumstances and will audit these requests.