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FAQ for Providers and Professionals 


What is Health Information Technology

Over the past 20 years, there has been a major change due to computers and electronic technology. Areas such as banking, shopping and the news have long ago adopted e technology. Until now, the field of healthcare has largely not used this technology, which is sometimes called health IT.

What is Health Information Exchange?

Today, most providers write patient medical information on paper charts which are not easily available and are hard to share with their patients and with other care providers. Health Information Exchange (HIE) is when a healthcare provider such as a doctor’s office, specialist, hospital, clinic or lab share patient health records electronically through a secure network.

What are the Benefits of Health Information Exchange?

When fully functional and exchangeable, electronic health records can provide more than what paper records can deliver, including:

  • Improved Treatment Outcomes and Care Coordination: Providers receive an accurate, up-to-date aggregated view of all patient data giving them the information they need to make better informed diagnoses, care plans and treatment decisions.
  • Increases Patient Collaboration: Patients with access to their electronic records are better informed about their health and can better track their care. Communication between provider and patient is enhanced, even in situations as simple as receiving electronic answers to questions right away rather than waiting for a returned phone call.
  • Fewer Forms for Providers and Patients to Fill Out: Provider early access to a patient’s health and insurance records will reduce the need for both patients and providers to continuously fill out duplicate information when visiting various health service providers.
  • Improves Public Health Reporting and Monitoring:  The ILHIE provides a real-time link directly to public health to enhance public health and disease surveillance; reduce disparities.

What is the Illinois Health Information Exchange (ILHIE)?

The Illinois Health Information Exchange (ILHIE) is a statewide network for sharing patient health information electronically between health care providers to improve patient care.

Who Benefits from Connecting to the ILHIE?

  • Patients: facilitates more coordinated care, better outcomes, patient access and involvement
  • Providers: allows secure sharing of vital information at the point of care
  • Payers: reduces costly medical errors, duplicative procedures and treatments and ineffective uncoordinated care

How do I Join the ILHIE?

Contact Raul Recarey, Executive Director of the ILHIE Authority, at or 312-814-3534.

What is Meaningful Use?

Meaningful Use is part of a coordinated set of regulations established to help create a private and secure electronic health information exchange system. To become “meaningful users” providers need to demonstrate they're using certified electronic health records technology in ways that can be measured in quantity and in quality. For more information visit:

What are the EHR Incentive Programs?

The Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs provide incentive payments to eligible professionals (between $43,000 - $63,000) and hospitals (up to $2 million) as they adopt, implement, upgrade and demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record technology.

For information and to register for Medicare incentive payments visit:, For more information and to register for Medicaid incentive payments visit:

To learn more about which electronic systems and modules are certified for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records Incentive Programs, visit

How Does the ILHIE Help Providers Achieve Stage 2 Meaningful Use?

Connecting to the ILHIE today will help providers to achieve Stage 2 meaningful use criteria beginning in 2014. Many of the core objectives have a clear focus on health information exchange. Be well prepared for Stage 3 meaningful use in 2016, as criteria will likely heavily rely even more on health information exchange. Click here for details.

What is ILHIE Direct Secure Messaging?

A Statewide Network

Thousands of health care professionals in Illinois are exchanging patient health information electronically through HIPAA compliant; ILHIE Direct.  ILHIE Direct allows you to send patient clinical information to other providers with or without an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system.

All You Need is the Internet

To use ILHIE Direct all you need is an Internet connection, a web browser and a communication partner with a Direct address with which to securely exchange patient health information. You do not need an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. Just scan the record, attach it and send.

Improve Care Coordination

Using ILHIE Direct, you can securely exchange clinical information such as clinical care summaries, referrals, and transition of care documents and even images

How Much Does ILHIE Direct cost?

The Illinois Health Information Exchange (ILHIE) is pleased to offer an ILHIE Direct secure messaging address at no cost through June 2013 to licensed Illinois health care providers and all staff members involved in patient care. For pricing information beginning July 1, 2013 click here.

For more information, contact Cory Verblen, ILHIE Communications Manager, at 312-793-0430 or  

What are Regional Extension Centers?

To assist providers in implementing and becoming "Meaningful Users" of electronic health records, two Illinois Regional Extension Centers provide outreach and support services to health care providers. For more information about implementation, contact the extension Centers at these addresses: For Statewide Providers:; For Chicago Providers:

What About Privacy and Security? 

The ILHIE Authority is responsible for ensuring the privacy and security of patient records:
  • Electronic Health Records are protected with passwords, encryption, and other technical safeguards to make sure that only the right people have access to information.
  • In accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has set forth standards for protecting the privacy and security of certain health information

What is E-Prescribing?

E-prescribing is an electronic way to generate prescriptions through an automated data-entry process utilizing e-prescribing software and a transmission network which links to participating pharmacies.

E-prescribing has been described as the solution to improved patient safety and reducing medication costs. It is estimated that approximately 7,000 deaths occur each year in the United States due to medication errors. These errors are predominately due to hand-writing illegibility, wrong dosing, missed drug-drug or drug-allergy reactions. With approximately 3 billion prescriptions written annually, which constitutes one of the largest paper-based processes in the United States, the writing of prescriptions can be streamlined and efficient by using an e-prescribing system.