A few days later Melissa’s sore throat has gotten worse, to the point that she is having trouble swallowing. Melissa and her parents are concerned, so at 9 p.m. they drive to a 24-hour Urgent Care clinic that participates in the Health Information Exchange (HIE).

Melissa checks in at the receptionist desk and completes the HIPAA form. In the exam room, the nurse pulls up Melissa’s EHR and together they review her visit to her PCP, Dr. Smith. The nurse then checks Melissa’s vital signs — not much has changed — and records the new information electronically.

The physician comes in, reviews Melissa’s EHR, examines her throat and sees severe swelling of her throat and tonsils. He then searches for the results of Melissa’s Strep (throat) culture and sees that she did not test positive for strep. Because Melissa’s throat swelling is severe, but she doesn’t have strep, the physician prescribes prednisone and sends it electronically to a nearby 24-hour pharmacy.

A few minutes later, the health coach enters the exam room. The health coach reminds Melissa that she can use pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®, others) or ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin IB®, others) as needed. She also suggests that Melissa gargle with salt water several times a day to relieve her sore throat. As she leaves, Melissa is given a copy of her urgent care receipt and a separate copy is sent to the medical and health services manager in the urgent care office.

  1. Discussion Questions: Why is it beneficial that Melissa’s PCP and the Urgent Care clinic participate in the Health Information Exchange (HIE)?
    1. Eliminates unnecessary or redundant testing and paperwork
    2. Reduces medical and medication errors
    3. Reduces health related costs
    4. All of the above