Health information exchanges can improve the quality and coordination of patient care, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report, Modern Healthcare reports.
For the report, GAO examined four health information exchanges between May 2009 and February 2010. The exchanges varied in size, scope and stage of development.
According to the GAO review, the exchanges reported that data sharing:
- Improved early detection of disease outbreaks such as H1N1 influenza;
- Reduced delays in obtaining test results; and
- Prevented patient misuse of the health care system.
The report also noted that the exchanges were following patient privacy guidelines and taking steps to secure personal health information.
The health IT provisions of the 2009 federal economic stimulus package requires GAO to conduct regular reviews of health data exchanges (Vesely, Modern Healthcare, 2/24).