Two Pivotal HIE Studies Released This Year

Date: March 25th, 2019Category: CORHIO e-NewsletterTopics: HIE, Hospital Readmissions, Emergency Services


Health Information Exchanges linked to shorter emergency stays and lower hospital readmission rates.

Health information exchanges have many benefits, including improving provider to provider communication during care transitions, reducing unnecessary testing and reducing paperwork and medical records gathering, but empirical study directly linking them to clinical outcomes are not widely done. Two studies released this year are showing benefits in new areas - emergency department (ED) length of stay and hospital readmission rates. 

ED Length of Stay Reduced up to 15% With HIE

The University of Texas at Dallas recently released a study showing hospitals can improve both the patient and provider experience when an HIE is in use at that hospital. Specifically, study authors explored how the adoption of HIEs affect the length of stay in emergency departments, an important measure of operational performance.

According to the study: “…the length of stay is the recorded time between when a patient signs in and leaves the emergency department. The study focuses on treat-and-release patients — those sent home after they visit the emergency department — who account for about 80 percent of all emergency visits.”

The study concluded that adoption of hospital HIE is associated with a 10.2% reduction in stay, and is even higher at 14.8% within an integrated health system.

“Health information exchanges help mitigate the length of stay because physicians have access to information from prior visits,” one of the study’s authors said. “They will be able to make better and timelier decisions. They can avoid repeat procedures. For example, they will know what kind of drugs the patient is taking and what care they have already received.”

HIE Reduced Readmission Rates in Florida

Another pivitol HIE study released in Health Affairs this February concluded that health information exchange has a direct effect on hospital readmission rates. This Florida study analyzed data from 160 hospitals to review whether HIE can help hospitals improve quality measures.

According to the study: “HIE participation was associated with a decrease in the probability of unplanned, 30-day readmissions for acute myocardial infarction (AMI, heart attack) that was 1.3 percentage points greater than that seen at non-participating hospitals.”

The study’s authors stated “These findings indicate that HIE can be leveraged to improve quality measures targeted by the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program and may hold promise for achieving broader policy goals.”