HIE improves safety, reduces cost of care

Health information exchanges (HIE) may be able to lower costs, improve patient safety and reduce duplicated procedures, according to a study published April 28 in Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.


A national HIE network would be able to improve care at a faction of the cost, but previous reviews have lacked in evidence supporting many of the potential benefits, because of methodological limitation. In this study, researchers from Indiana University School of Public Health examined 24 previously published articles for evidence supporting HIE.

The articles were evaluated using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines.

Of the 24 articles, 40 percent included analysis conducted of HIEs from New York. Seven of the studies used designs for causal inference, and all reported some type of beneficial effect from HIE. These benefits included reduced duplicated procedures, reduced imaging, lower costs and improved patient safety. None of the studies reported adverse effects caused by HIE.

“The current systematic review found that studies with more rigorous designs all reported benefits from HIE,” concluded first author Nir Menachemi, PhD, and colleagues. “Such benefits include fewer duplicated procedures, reduced imaging, lower costs, and improved patient safety. We also found that studies evaluating community HIEs were more likely to find benefits than studies that evaluated enterprise HIEs or vendor-mediated exchanges. Overall, these finding bode well for the HIEs ability to deliver on anticipated improvements in care delivery and reduction in costs.”