Physicians' access to a health information exchange saved more than $1 million in emergency care costs over a one-year period, according to a study released Monday by the American College of Emergency Physicians, Healthcare IT News reports.
The average savings -- based on Medicare-allowable charges -- amounted to nearly $2,000 per patient.
Beginning in February 2012, ACEP researchers tracked for one year the care of 532 patients at 11 emergency departments in South Carolina, all of whom had data available through a health information exchange. In addition, health care providers who treated the patients completed a survey.
Christine Carr -- a physician at the Medical University of South Carolina and study author -- said that 89% of participants said the use of the health information exchange resulted in improved quality of patient care and 82% said it saved time, reporting a mean time savings of 105 minutes per patient.
According to the study, access to a health information exchange helped clinicians avoid:
- Laboratory or microbiology services for 187 patients, saving $2,073;
- Radiology services for 298 patients, saving $476,840;
- Consultations for 61 patients, saving $6,461; and
- Hospital readmissions for 56 patients, saving $551,282 (Miliard, Healthcare IT News, 10/14).