AJMC: Which HIE approach is best?

Julie Spitzer - Print  | 

Approaches to health information exchange that rely on shared EHRs or EHR vendor alliances may disadvantage smaller healthcare organizations using less popular IT systems, according to a study published in the American Journal of Managed Care.

Researchers analyzed Medicare patient transitions and physician EHR adoption to determine the proportion of transitions that could be covered by one of the three approaches to data exchange. The three approaches were data exchange between physicians who "are part of the same integrated system," physicians who "use the same EHR" or physicians who "use an EHR that participates in an EHR vendor alliance."

Three study findings:

  1. Thirty-three percent of transitions could be completed with one of the three proprietary data-sharing approaches listed above.
  2. Open data exchange methods, such as those offered by community HIEs, were still required for 45 percent of patients.
  3. Physicians who did not use a market-leading EHR, did not belong to a large integrated health system and shared patients with a broader network of physicians have the greatest need for an "open" HIE.

"Growing proprietary approaches to [health information exchange] have a substantial but ultimately limited potential to facilitate information exchange as patients move between providers, and these approaches are most useful to large providers using dominant EHR vendors," the study concludes. "The ultimate goal of comprehensive network coverage still requires active engagement in nonproprietary approaches to information sharing."

Click here to access the complete study.

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