A new study examined whether health information exchanges have the ability to demonstrate a return on investment, EHR Intelligence reports.
The study appears in Perspectives on Health Information Management.
According to EHR Intelligence, most HIEs have operational costs exceeding $1 million annually. HIEs received a one-time infusion of government funds through the HITECH Act.
CMS and ONC have viewed HIEs as a stepping stone to wider adoption and use of EHRs (Murphy, EHR Intelligence, 9/6).
Researchers used a survey focusing on HIEs' use of metrics to determine ROI and quality of care. Data for the study came from 18 HIEs.
Most of the HIEs had sustainable business models, while about half of the participating HIEs had a system in place to measure performance. However, those metrics were not consistent across HIEs, the study found.
The study authors recommended that the health IT community take steps to develop standardized metrics for measuring performance (Khurshid et al., Perspectives on Health Information Management, Summer 2012).
According to the study:
- 10 respondents said that based on the performance of their own HIE, they believe that HIEs show a positive ROI;
- Eight respondents said that more data were necessary to make such a determination;
- Two respondents who said they think HIEs show positive ROI noted that they have not used ROI metrics but are in the process of developing them; and
- 17 respondents said they think that HIEs ultimately improve the quality of care.
"The last decade has seen significant progress in HIE technologies and substantial investments in HIT adoption, yet the lack of evidence on the value delivered by such efforts remains a major hurdle in making a strong case for both adoption and investment at the local level," the authors wrote (EHR Intelligence, 9/6).