Patient Frequently Asked Questions

What is HIE?

The Point of Care Exchange is a service of South Dakota Health Link, South Dakota’s statewide HIE – Health Information Exchange. An HIE assists in the electronic movement of health-related information among organizations according to nationally recognized standards. HIE is also sometimes referred to as a health information network (HIN).

How can I access my health information/medical record?

Ask your doctor or other healthcare providers for access to your health information. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule gives you, with few exceptions, the right to inspect, review and receive a copy of your medical records and billing records that are held by health plans and healthcare providers covered by the Privacy Rule.

Who can access my health information/medical record in the Point of Care Exchange?

Your medical information is kept private and secure. It is only viewable by authorized healthcare providers in South Dakota while providing care to you or a family member. Support staff at your healthcare provider’s office may be able to access basic information, such as your name and address, but they may NOT have access to your private medical information.

How do I know my information is kept private and secure?

State-of-the-art systems are used to secure records to the greatest degree possible and prevent access by unauthorized persons. All systems must comply with the security rules of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) including amendments made by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) act.

What types of information might be shared in an HIE?

An HIE may share clinical information such as test results, current medication, allergies and other clinical information vital to your care. Certain demographic information used to identify the individual, such as name, birth date and address, might also be shared.

What are some of the technical safeguards my providers use to protect my health information when it is stored in an electronic health record?

The HIPAA Security Rule requires providers to assess the security of their electronic health record systems. The Rule sets technical safeguards for protecting electronic health records against the risks that are identified in the assessment.

Some of the steps that may be taken to reduce the risks include:

  • Access controls such as passwords or PIN numbers that limit access to your information to authorized individuals.
  • Encryption of your information, which means your health information cannot be read or understood except by someone who can “decrypt” it, using a “key” made available only to authorized individuals.
  • Audit trails, which record who accessed your information, what changes were made and when they were made, provide an additional layer of security.
  • Workstation security, which ensures that computer terminals that can access your health records cannot be used by unauthorized persons.

What if I don’t want to participate?

When your providers join the Point of Care Exchange, a limited set of information from your electronic patient chart will automatically be included. If you prefer not to participate in Point of Care Exchange, you MUST opt out.

You may opt-out by downloading this opt-out form, following the procedure therein. Consider speaking with your doctor(s) or other facility staff before you make this important decision! Remember – once you opt out, your health providers won’t be able to see your electronic health records through Point of Care Exchange:

  • If you are in an emergency
  • If you are hurt and can’t talk to health providers caring for you

If you choose to opt out of Point of Care Exchange, you can change your mind and opt back in at any time?

While participation in the Point of Care Exchange may improve your care – you will continue to receive healthcare from your providers if you decide to opt out. If you have previously opted-out and wish to opt back in you will need to download this cancel non-participation form. Fill the form out and have the form signed by a Notary Public or by a Health Care Provider (physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant) licensed in the State of South Dakota.

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