Health information exchanges not producing expected savings

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 24, 2013

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The use of a health information exchange in an ambulatory setting did not result in significant cost savings through reduced test ordering, according to a study posted online May 22 in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Assn.

Researchers analyzed claims data from 306 ambulatory physicians in 69 practices for nearly 35,000 patients from 2005 to 2010. They compared the cost and the number of tests ordered before and after the health care organizations joined an HIE. They found that the number of tests ordered by primary care physicians and specialists increased from 2005 to 2010 but dropped noticeably after HIE enrollment. The total and individual costs of lab tests, however, did not significantly change after enrollment. The number of radiology tests remained constant before and after participation in the HIE (link).

Researchers said that although direct savings through reduced testing were not realized, there may be other economic benefits to an HIE through more informed, higher-quality care.

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