Health Information Exchanges See 40% Growth from Previous Year

HealthLeaders Media Staff, July 23, 2009

The number of community-based health information exchanges (HIEs) that transfer data electronically among physicians, hospitals, health plans, and patients increased by nearly 40% from the previous past year, according to the new sixth annual survey and study released by the nonprofit group, eHealth Initiative (eHI).

Approximately 193 active initiatives are now involved in HIEs across the country and 153 participated in the survey. Among the different stakeholders in those HIEs, hospitals (21) and physician practices (19) were anticipating to see returns on their investments during this year, according to the study.

In 2009 and 2010, HIEs are expected to see new opportunities with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through which the federal government is anticipated to spend at least $300 million in support of HIE activities. "While it is impossible to predict the impact of future funding, ARRA has helped energize the field in recent months," the study said.

More HIEs were exchanging data, with increases in the types of data exchanged rising across the board:

  • Laboratory data increased to 49 initiatives in 2009, up from 28 in 2008.

  • Outpatient laboratory increased to 45 initiatives, up from 25.

  • Radiology results increased to 39 in 2009, up from 23 in 2008.

  • Emergency department episodes increased to 36 initiatives, up from 27.

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