eReferral Health Information Exchange (HIE) Project

Dates: 2012

Geographic Scope: Nationwide

Client(s): Other

Services: Health Care & Public Health Planning, Health Information Technology

Technical Expertise: Substance Use, Health Information Technology, Healthy Communities


An innovative stop-smoking campaign of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH)—QuitWorks—works with doctors and other healthcare providers. If patients want help to stop smoking, their doctors refer them to QuitWorks for follow-up counseling. Referrals are key to the widely recognized success of the program. Once a referral is made, JSI screens patients for need and eligibility and, if necessary, offers counseling and nicotine patches. Following the provision of services, an update is provided to the referring physician describing service delivery status. Until recently, healthcare providers and QuitWorks exchanged paper-based faxes to share this information.

Given the recent proliferation of electronic medical records systems and health information exchange (HIE), JSI proposed to use its health information exchange network to automate the referral process and eliminate the dependency on paper fax documents. The Health-e-link health information exchange network supports data exchange between physician EMR systems and the QuitLine database application. The network enables a doctor to send and receive patient information in a much more timely and efficient manner. In addition, the system provides security features to meet federal HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) requirements as well as meaningful use requirements associated with the Affordable Care Act.