HIE Use in the ER lowers hospital admissions and costs

We’ve known anecdotally for years that the use of the health information exchange (HIE) in the emergency room results in better quality care, reduced duplication and subsequetnly lower costs. That’s why we were excited to see this new study from Weill Cornell Medical College, which found that physicians are less likely to admit patients to the hospital when they have quick electronic access to those patients’ health records.

The study was published in Applied Clinical Informatics and estimated patients whose information was available and viewed in an HIE were 30% less likely to be admitted to the hospital. Unfortunaly HIE data was accessed in only 2.4% encounters for 15,645 patients. But even in this small sample, the savings were estimated at $357,000. Just imagine if ER staff had accessed the HIE record for every patient!

With all but three (all by the end of 2014) of Maine’s emergency rooms connected to HealthInfoNet and 1.2 million residents with informaiton in our system, we wonder what the savings have been here!