Health information exchanges (HIEs) are valuable in the emergency department for providers, researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College revealed in a recent study.
For the study, published in Applied Clinical Informatics, researchers looked at claims information collected from seven emergency departments in Rochester, N.Y. They found that physicians and other practitioners who had access to patient data were better able to avoid hospitalizing patients who didn't need inpatient care.
"New York State has made significant investments in health information exchange," Joshua Vest, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Weill Cornell and the lead author on the study, said in a statement. "Our study shows that providing physicians, nurses and allied healthcare professionals such as physician assistants real-time access to community-wide, longitudinal health records does in fact benefit patients."\
In Rochester, the regional health information organization operates a shared information system, called Virtual Health Record. This HIE system combines all of the patient's recent and historical medical information from local healthcare providers. Rochester-area providers with the proper clearance have instant access to critical patient information that in the past would have been difficult, time consuming or impossible to get.
"Emergency department physicians need to treat patients every day, even when they don't have complete medical information on those patients," Ted Kremer, head of the Rochester RHIO, said in a statement. "This study suggests that providing physicians with more clinical information helps prevent hospital admissions."