Health Data Exchange Growing, New Study Finds

  (NIH) - 8/10/2013 - New research, published on August 5 in Health Affairs, from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), shows that health information exchange (HIE) between hospitals and other providers jumped 41 percent between 2008 and 2012.
   The research – authored by National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Farzad Mostashari, M.D., and ONC researchers – indicates that six in 10 hospitals actively exchanged electronic health information with providers and hospitals outside their organization in 2012.
   The research suggests that electronic health records (EHRs) and health information organizations (HIOs) are complementary tools used to enable health information exchange. Stage 2 Meaningful Use, which requires eligible hospitals to exchange with outside organizations using different EHR systems and share summary of care records during transitions of care, can help accelerate hospital use of HIE as a means to enhance care quality and safety.
   “We know that the exchange of health information is integral to the ongoing efforts to transform the nation’s health care system and we will continue to see that grow as more hospitals and other providers adopt and use health IT to improve patient health and care,” said Dr. Mostashari. “Our new research is crystal clear: health information exchange is happening and it is growing. But we still have a long road ahead toward universal interoperability.”
   Highlights of the new study show:
   Fifty eight percent of hospitals exchanged data with providers outside their organization in 2012 and hospitals’ exchanges with other hospitals outside their organization more than doubled during the study period.
   Hospitals with basic EHR systems and participating in HIOs had the highest rates of hospital exchange activity in 2012, regardless of the organizational affiliation of the provider exchanging data or the type of clinical information exchanged.
   The proportion of hospitals that adopted at least a basic EHR and participated in an HIO grew more than five-fold from 2008 to 2012.
   Between 2008 and 2012, there were significant increases in the percent of hospitals exchanging radiology reports, laboratory results, clinical care summaries, and medication lists with hospitals and providers outside of their organization.
   Eighty four percent of hospitals that adopted an EHR and participated in a regional HIO exchanged information with providers outside their organization.
   One area that the research found needs more attention is that of care summaries and medication lists. The research found that only about one-third of hospitals exchanged clinical care summaries or medication lists with outside providers.
   To see state-level estimates for several of the measures included in the new study, visit ONC’s Health IT Adoption and Use dashboard at http://dashboard.healthit.gov/. The abstract of the Health Affairs study can be found athttp://content.healthaffairs.org/content/32/8/1346.abstract .
   Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services release.

Photo by Steve Rensberry (c) 2014