InformationWeek, August 31, 2011

According to a study from Humana and the Wisconsin Health Information Exchange, when health information exchanges are used in emergency departments, providers avoid duplicating the number of imaging procedures and diagnostic tests they perform which results in significant cost savings. The peer-reviewed analysis, which was published in the July/August issue of American Health & Drug Benefits, sheds new light on the value HIEs can have on healthcare costs at a time when patient models of care seek to squeeze expenses out of the system while improving the quality of care. The analysis included 10 Milwaukee hospitals where 1,482 fully insured Humana members in Southeast Wisconsin sought emergency department care. Doctors and other clinical workers at the emergency department used the HIE to access and view patients' historical medical encounter information to help them make diagnosis and treatment decisions. Researchers found that four of the top five emergency department-based procedures conclusively showed reductions in the number of tests, including CT scans, EKGs, laboratory testing, and diagnostic radiology, when the patient database was queried by clinicians.

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