Report: Data Sharing Cuts Unnecessary ED Visits by 10%

A new report from the Washington State Health Care Authority shows a data-sharing initiative among emergency departments in Washington has reduced ED visits by Medicaid patients by 10 percent in the program's first year.

In Washington, as in other states, patients often visit the hospital ED for conditions that may be more effectively treated in an alternative and less costly setting. To address this issue, starting in the summer of 2012, Washington required hospitals to adopt the Emergency Department Information Exchange database to track patients' ED visits.

According to the study, before the implementation of the new data-sharing system, physicians had no way of knowing if a patient had visited multiple EDs with the same complaint. Through data-sharing, the physicians were able to identify frequent users of the ED and share information regarding their care.

Along with reducing the number of ED visits by Medicaid patients, the study also found the prescription of narcotics for Medicaid patients in EDs within the state decreased by 24 percent.

More Articles on Healthcare Data Sharing:

Choosing the Right Communications Network to Help Link Collaboration and Reimbursement
North Texas Medical Center to Build HIE as Foundation for an ACO 
When Hospitals Share Data, Who Benefits? 

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