Sharing clinical data with other health care providers through the use of health information exchange (HIE) may reduce emergency room usage and costs, according to a review article published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
HIEs were developed to address the fragmentation of patient care across providers by giving physicians a way to share data with other providers who care for the same patients. The U.S. government provides financial incentives to providers that use HIEs but only about 30 percent of hospitals and 10 percent of ambulatory clinics participate.
Researchers conducted a systematic review of published evidence to determine if this participation had an effect on clinical care. They found that relatively few of the HIE organizations in the U.S. have been evaluated for their effects on outcomes of care, but low-strength evidence suggests an association between HIE use and reduced utilization and cost in the ER. The researchers suggest further research to specifically evaluate whether use of HIE improves patient outcomes.
Article: Usage and Effect of Health Information Exchange: A Systematic Review, R.S. Rudin, A. Motala, C.L. Goldzweig, and P.G. Shekelle, Annals of Internal Medicine, doi: 10.7326/M14-0877, published 1 December 2014.
Source: American College of Physicians