Hospital HIE Use Up 41%, ONC Says

John Commins, August 6, 2013

Six in 10 hospitals routinely swapped electronic health information with healthcare providers and health systems beyond their walls in 2012, says a study from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

Health information exchanges between hospitals and other providers jumped 41% from 2008 to 2012, according to federal government research published this week in Health Affairs.

The study, led by National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Farzad Mostashari, MD, examined national surveys and found that six in 10 hospitals routinely swapped electronic health information with providers and hospitals beyond their walls in 2012.

"EHR adoption and HIE participation were associated with significantly greater hospital exchange activity, but exchanges with providers outside the organization and exchanges of clinical care summaries and medication lists remained limited," the study said.  

"New and ongoing policy initiatives and payment reforms may accelerate the electronic exchange of health information by creating new data exchange options, defining standards for interoperability, and creating payment incentives for information sharing across organizational boundaries."  

Mostashari said research suggests that EHRs and HIEs are complementary tools used to enable health information exchange. Stage 2 Meaningful Use, which requires hospitals to exchange data with outside organizations using different EHRs, and to share summary of care records during transitions of care, can accelerate hospital use of HIE to enhance care quality and safety. 

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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