Hospitals Participating in Health Information Exchange Order Fewer Redundant Tests

Date: February 19th, 2014Category: CORHIO e-NewsletterTopics: HIE, Duplicate Testing

One of the largest studies of its kind reveals concrete evidence that health information exchange reduces unnecessary testing in emergency departments.

A new study from the University of Michigan, published in Medical Care, uncovered that emergency department physicians of hospitals participating in health information exchange (HIE) are ordering fewer repeat tests. The study analyzed data from 2007 to 2010 in two large states – California and Florida – that were early adopters of HIE. It compared 37 emergency departments that participated in HIE during the study period to 410 emergency departments that did not. The findings show that numbers of CT scans, chest X-rays and ultrasound scans were significantly lower for patients seen at the HIE participating hospital versus a hospital not on an HIE. In fact, within 30 days, patients at HIE participating hospitals were:

  • 59 percent less likely to have a repeated CT scan
  • 44 percent less likely to have a redundant ultrasound
  • 67 percent less likely to have an additional chest X-ray

Unnecessary and wasteful medical testing is a large factor in the high cost of health care in the United States. In fact, the Institute of Medicine estimates that 30 percent of overall health care costs can be attributed to tests and services that are unnecessary to treat the patient successfully. The authors of the University of Michigan study estimate an annual $19 million in savings if all hospital emergency departments participated in health information exchange.