Introduction: The Affordable Care Act increases health insurance options, yet many Americans may struggle to consistently maintain coverage. While health care providers have traditionally not been involved in providing insurance enrollment support to their patients, the ability for them to do so now exists. We propose that providers could capitalize on the expansion of electronic health records (EHRs) and the advances in health information exchanges (HIEs) to improve their patients' insurance coverage rates and continuity.
Evidence for argument: We describe a project in which we are building strategies for linking, and thus improving synergy between, payer and EHR data. Through this effort, care teams will have access to new automated tools and increased EHR functionality designed to help them assist their patients in obtaining and maintaining health insurance coverage.
Suggestion for the future: The convergence of increasing EHR adoption, improving HIE functionality, and expanding insurance coverage options, creates new opportunities for clinics to help their patients obtain public health insurance. Harnessing this nascent ability to exchange information between payers and providers may improve synergies between HIE and EHRs, and thus support clinic-based efforts to keep patients continuously insured.
Keywords: access; health information exchange; health information technology; health policy.