Emergency departments save $2 million with health information exchanges
Surveys have shown that most healthcare organizations are already aware of the benefits of health information exchanges (HIEs) – and a new study shows just how much money organizations could save by using exchanges.
For the study, 12 major emergency departments in Memphis, TN, joined an HIE to share patient data across their organizations.
Researchers at Vanderbilt University examined all patient encounters at those departments in which the HIE was used over a 13-month period and compared them to similar encounters in which an HIE wasn’t used.
Clinicians at the organizations studied were free to use the HIE as they wished and only used the exchange when they felt in was necessary for the patient.
The results of the study, published by the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association: Regional emergency departments saw total annual savings of $1.9 million because of the HIE.
Most savings were achieved through reduced hospital admissions, as well as a reduction in the number of laboratory tests ordered.
In addition to costs savings for hospitals, the researchers also pointed out the benefits for patients, including:
- Improved care, because doctors have quick access to all the information they need and can collaborate with other providers, and
- Improved information security, because patients can authorize who has access to what information, and exchanges make it possible to keep track of who looked at a record and when.
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