Falling short: how state laws can address health information exchange barriers and enablers Academic Article uri icon


  • Objective: Research on the implementation of health information exchange (HIE) organizations has identified both positive and negative effects of laws relating to governance, incentives, mandates, sustainability, stakeholder participation, patient engagement, privacy, confidentiality, and security. We fill a substantial research gap by describing whether comprehensive state and territorial HIE legal frameworks address identified legal facilitators and barriers. Materials and Methods: We used the Westlaw database to identify state and territorial laws relating to HIEs in effect on June 7, 2016 (53 jurisdictions). We blind-coded all laws and addressed coding discrepancies in peer-review meetings. We recorded a consensus code for each law in a master database. We compared 20 HIE legal attributes with identified barriers to and enablers of HIE activity in the literature. Results: Forty-two states, the District of Columbia, and 2 territories have laws relating to HIEs. On average, jurisdictions address 8.32 of the 20 criteria selected in statutes and regulations. Twenty jurisdictions unambiguously address ≤5 criteria in statutes and regulations. None of the significant legal criteria are unambiguously addressed in >60% of the 53 jurisdictions. Discussion: Laws can be barriers to or enablers of HIEs. However, jurisdictions are not addressing many significant issues identified by researchers. Consequently, there is a substantial risk that existing legal frameworks are not adequately supporting HIEs. Conclusion: The current evidence base is insufficient for comparative assessments or impact rankings of the various factors. However, the detailed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dataset of HIE laws could enable investigations into the types of laws that promote or impede HIEs.

altmetric score

  • 10.6

author list (cited authors)

  • Schmit, C. D., Wetter, S. A., & Kash, B. A.

citation count

  • 11

publication date

  • November 2017