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An Empirical analysis of the financial benefits of health information exchange in emergency departments

Niam Yaraghi
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jamia/ocv068 ocv068 First published online: 27 June 2015


Objective To examine the impact of health information exchange (HIE) on reducing laboratory tests and radiology examinations performed in an emergency department (ED).

Materials and Methods The study was conducted in an ED setting in Western New York over a period of 2 months. The care of the patients in the treatment group included an HIE query for every encounter, while the care of other patients in the control group did not include such queries. A group of medical liaisons were hired to query the medical history of patients from an HIE and provide it to the ED clinicians. Negative binomial regression was used to analyze the effects of HIE queries on the number of performed laboratory tests and radiology examinations. The log files of the HIE system since 1 year before the ED admission were used to analyze the differences in outcome measures between the 2 groups of patients.

Results Ceteris paribus, HIE usage is associated with, respectively, 52% and 36% reduction in the expected total number of laboratory tests and radiology examinations ordered per patient at the ED.

Conclusions The results indicate that access to additional clinical data through the HIE will significantly reduce the number of laboratory tests and radiology examinations performed in the ED settings and thus support the ongoing HIE efforts.

  • health information exchange
  • duplication reduction
  • cost benefit analysis
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