In the world of health information exchange, a use case is a unique instance of sharing a specific type of information regarding patients and their health. Each use case has a specific purpose, type of data exchanged, and rules for interactions between people and systems. Examples of use cases include immunization records sent to the state government for public health reporting, and admission notifications sent to doctors and other members of a care team when one of their patients is admitted to a hospital.
A fully-defined use case outlines the specific business, technical and legal framework required to share the type of information addressed by that use case. Each use case may have different access restrictions, rules for using or further sharing the data, cost recovery fees or charges, and technical requirements.
To understand the breadth of potential differences in use cases, think of the different rules needed and possible recipients of data regarding a patient’s recent vaccination shot or hospital admission, as compared to records and diagnosis of a behavioral health issue such as substance use. Each instance of health information sharing, each use case, must have a robust, well-reasoned legal and technical framework to support how the information is sent, received, found, and used.