EHR market dominance increases patient data-sharing among hospitals, study finds 

Consolidation within the EHR industry may help increase patient data-sharing between health systems and hospitals, according to a new study published Dec. 6. 

As the number of state and community health data exchanges decreases, more EHR systems are building health information exchange networks that allow data exchange across hospitals with the same platforms. Consolidation within the EHR industry seems to affect patient data-sharing across hospitals, according to the study.

The researchers pulled data from CMS Physician Shared Patient Patterns database representing 3,076 non-federal acute care hospitals from 2011-16. They then used this information to calculate the ratio of patient data shared with hospitals outside the hospital of interest that had the same EHR system and then those that switched EHR vendors.

The study found a correlation between hospitals that used the same EHR systems and patient sharing. In fact, switching to a new EHR developer increased the ratio of patients shared with other hospitals having the same EHR developer by 4.1 percent to 19.3 percent. 

This suggests that a hospital's choice of EHR affects the flow of patient data across hospitals in different systems and consequently the flow of patients. The effect on patient care is unknown. 

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