Study Shows Almost One-Third of Patients Visit Multiple Hospitals, Demonstrating Need for Information-Sharing

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In a five-year retrospective analysis in Massachusetts, almost one-third of patients visited multiple hospitals, suggesting significant unnecessary services that could be reduced by health information sharing through IT systems, according to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Surveying adult patients visiting Massachusetts emergency departments, inpatient units and observation units from 2002-2007, the study found 31 percent visited two or more hospitals and accounted for 56.5 percent of all acute-care visits. Additionally, 1 percent visited five or more hospitals, making up about one-tenth of all acute-care visits.

"For the first time we showed just how common it is to go across sites of care," wrote the authors, researchers at Children's Hospital Boston. "Now understanding this, we can look at the issue of information fragmentation and demonstrate the critical value of making vital health information accessible across settings."

Read an abstract of the study in the Archives of Internal Medicine on information sharing.

Read more coverage about fragmentation of care:

- Study Examining Cost of Poorly Coordinated Care Could Help ACOs

- Study: Potential Problems With Role of Physicians and Specialists in Medical Home Model

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