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AHA Survey: HIE Among U.S. Hospitals Has Grown, But Work Remains

May 6, 2014
by Rajiv Leventhal
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In 2013, more than six in 10 hospitals (62 percent) electronically exchanged health information with providers outside of their system according to results of the 2013 American Hospital Association (AHA) annual health IT survey posted in an Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) data brief.

According to the data, electronic health information exchange (HIE) among hospitals and outside providers increased 51 percent from 2008 to 2013 (since 2008, ONC has partnered with the AHA to measure the adoption and use of health IT in U.S. hospitals). What’s more, the majority of hospitals (57 percent) electronically exchanged health information with ambulatory providers outside of their system; this represents a 58 percent increase since 2008. Additionally, four in 10 hospitals electronically exchanged health information with hospitals outside of their system, representing a 167 percent increase since 2008.

The data further showed that more than half of hospitals electronically exchanged laboratory results (57 percent) and radiology reports (55 percent) with outside providers in 2013. Also in 2013, 42 percent of hospitals electronically exchanged clinical care summaries with outside providers, while 37 percent electronically exchange medication histories with outside providers.

Source: ONC/American Hospital Association (AHA), AHA Annual Survey Information Technology Supplement

Breaking the data down by state, Rhode Island (100 percent), Delaware (100 percent), and Connecticut (95 percent) had the highest percent of hospitals that electronically exchanged health information with outside providers, while Oklahoma (38 percent), Montana (41 percent), and Mississippi (42 percent) ranked lowest in that category.

The survey was fielded from November 2013 to the end of February 2014, and the CEO of each U.S. hospital was invited to participate in the survey, regardless of AHA membership status. The person most knowledgeable about the hospital’s health IT (typically the CIO) was requested to provide the information via a mail survey or secure online site.

“We anticipate that the exchange of care summaries among hospitals will increase as hospitals implement EHRs certified to meet ONC’s 2014 health IT certification regulation, which require secure messaging functionality and standardized clinical care summary structure and content,” states an ONC blog post that reported the results. “Meaningful use-eligible hospitals must use this certified functionality (or services from an eHealth Exchange participant) to achieve meaningful use stage 2 transition of care requirements.”

The blog post, written by Matthew Swain, program analyst in the ONC Office of Economic Analysis, Evaluation, and Modeling, and Erica Galvez, interoperability and exchange portfolio manager at ONC, did stress that significant work remains. “In 2013, less than half of hospitals routinely electronically notified a patient’s primary care provider inside their system when they entered an emergency room, and roughly one-quarter notified primary care providers outside of their system.  Only one in ten hospitals provided their patients with the ability to transmit information from their medical record to a third party.”



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