A new report that shows double-digit gains in hospitals’ electronic health information exchanges with other providers is a boon to healthcare, says one of SHM’s leading health information technology experts.
Published last month at HealthAffairs.org, “Hospital Electronic Health Information Exchange Grew Substantially in 2008-2012,” found that nearly 6 in 10 hospitals actively exchanged electronic health information with providers and hospitals outside of their own organization in 2012, a 41% jump since 2008.
Kendall Rogers, MD, FACP, SFHM, chief of the division of hospital medicine at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center in Albuquerque, says in an email to The Hospitalist that the growth is a good thing.
“Obviously, flow of information is never a bad thing for hospital medicine,” writes Dr. Rogers, chair of SHM’s Information Technology Executive Committee. “I think we have made more progress getting information back out to providers in the community, [and] helping with a safer transition (though we still have a long way to go), but we still lack significantly [in] getting info from providers or other hospitals on admission.”
The report notes that while more information has flowed among hospitals and providers, exchanges of clinical-care summaries and medication lists remain limited. The authors suggest that “new and ongoing policy initiatives and payment reforms may accelerate” the process.
Dr. Rogers adds that making systems more user-friendly may also encourage meaningful participation. “We have a health information exchange here in New Mexico that includes most hospitals”; however, he writes, “it is cumbersome and not routinely used, but definitely a step in the right direction.”