Length of ED stay reduced with HIE use, study finds

Emergency department physicians who accessed patient records in a health information exchange were able to reduce patient length of stay by 7.5 percent, according to a new study. The HIE, operated by HealthlinkNY, connects providers in a 13-county region of New York State and allows them to share medical records for patients they have in common.

Nearly 86,000 encounters at four EDs were included in the study, titled "The Effects of Health Information Exchange Access on Healthcare Quality and Efficiency: An Empirical Investigation." The study analyzed about 46,000 patient visits from July 1, 2012, to Jan. 31, 2014.

Here are three findings from the study.

1. After HIE use, the average length of stay at the four EDs was 20 hours and 48 minutes, representing a decrease of about two hours The decrease was attributed to eliminating duplicate laboratory and imaging tests, procedures, diagnostic tests and prescriptions.

2. HIE use was associated with a 4.5 percent decrease in ED readmissions within a 30-day timeframe.

3. Use of the HIE led to a 12 percent decrease in the odds of a patient being treated by multiple physicians. 

This article was updated on March 27 at 2:07 p.m.

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