Using health information exchanges in emergency departments is associated with lower hospital admission rates and costs, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, CMIO reports.
Over a 13-month period, researchers from the department of biomedical informatics at Vanderbilt University studied all instances in which HIE data were accessed at 12 major EDs in Memphis, Tenn.
According to the study, HIE data were accessed in about 6.8% of ED visits.
The study found that for 11 EDs that accessed HIE data through a secure Web browser, access was associated with a decrease in hospital admissions. Researchers found that 191 fewer admissions occurred when the EDs used HIEs than would have been predicted to occur without HIE use.
The researchers wrote, "The calculated annual financial savings from the 11-hospital direct access group were approximately $796,085."
In a 12th ED, which used print summaries from HIEs, access to HIE data was associated with 221 fewer hospital admissions. The researchers said the calculated annual financial savings at the 12th ED were about $1.1 million.
Across all of the EDs, "HIE access was associated with an annual cost savings of $1.9 million," according to researchers.
They noted, "If care delivery within a region is highly fragmented, collaborative HIE among an entire community may confer far greater benefit by improving care coordination, measuring and addressing hospital readmissions, and collectively developing more comprehensive quality metrics for individuals and populations" (Byers, CMIO, 4/16).