The bi-partisan Federal policy incentivizing healthcare providers to adopt, upgrade and implement electronic medical record systems is fostering Health Information Exchanges (“HIE”) throughout the United States. The HIEs are developing at local and national levels to exchange patient information between providers regardless of the patient or provider’s location. Among other benefits, HIEs generally permit a patient living in a remote region to receive consultations from specialists without leaving his or her home because the patient information may be electronically exchanged between providers and made available through the HIE. The value of an HIE varies depending upon how many sources of information are being exchanged and the region that it is serving. Depending upon the sources of the information, the HIE structure may also trigger additional regulatory controls.
Electronically exchanging data requires either a regional or national database to maintain patient