Utilizing a health information exchange (HIE) before ordering a CT scan could result in millions of dollars of savings, according to officials from HEALTHeLINK, the Western New York clinical information exchange.
Recently, HEALTHeLINK conducted an analysis of the number of multiple CT scans ordered for the same patient and on the same body part within six months utilizing clinical data available within its HIE. It found that utilizing the HIE could have resulted in savings of approximately $1.3 million, an estimate that HEALTHeLINK’s officials said was “conservative.”
The results are available in HEALTHeLINK's latest white paper, "Study of Duplicate CT Scans Show Promise of Health Information Exchange.” Some of HEALTHeLINK's other key findings include:
- Approximately 90 percent of the 2,763 potentially unnecessary duplicative CT scans were ordered by physicians who either never or infrequently used HEALTHeLINK.
- About 50 percent of the patients who had a duplicative CT scan had already consented to have their information accessed through HEALTHeLINK by their treating providers.
- More than 95 percent of the identified potentially unnecessary CT scans were done in a hospital setting.
"These findings demonstrate the value an HIE provides by reducing the number of unnecessary tests which saves time, money and radiation exposure to our patients," David Scamurra, M.D., pathologist, Eastern Great Lakes Pathology/X-Cell Laboratories and HEALTHeLINK chairman, said in a statement.
For the HEALTHeLINK report, data was analyzed for the time period of July 2011 through December 2012. Data to support the analysis was also provided by the region's three major health insurance companies— BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, Independent Health and Univera Healthcare —who also are stakeholders in HEALTHeLINK, as are the region's hospital systems and other provider organizations.