The Cost Saving Potential of Health Information Exchange

Health Information Exchange (HIE) is a developing technology that holds the promise of improving quality of care, efficiency of the health care delivery system and even lowering health care costs. Organizations participating in HIE initiatives are better positioned to offer complete, accurate and patient-centered care; they can also play a pivotal role in the significant improvement of health outcomes. Below are five ways HIE could potentially lower health care costs and increase physician profitability:

  1. Eliminating manual steps. When healthcare organizations move to fully automated processes, can share medical records, electronic orders and results and more via HIE, manual steps associated with those processes will be eliminated. As HIE continues to evolve, this workflow efficiency will lead to improved cost effectiveness and labor savings.
  2. Reducing medical errors. Providers that share medical records and get immediate access to a patient's record are less likely to experience medical errors. For instance, a patient who is allergic to penicillin and presents at the emergency room in an incapacitated state is far less likely to be treated with penicillin if providers can immediately access her medical records via HIE.
  3. Reducing readmissions. HIE has the potential to improve coordination of care and decrease medical errors, thereby reducing risk of readmission in cases where problems are preventable. For example, potential problems like cardiovascular disease and diabetes become easier to manage and are less likely to result in readmissions when patients receive more coordinated care.
  4. Reducing unnecessary tests and procedures. When providers are access medical records easily via HIE, they can share records of tests and procedures previously performed, reducing duplicative clinical events for the sake of lack of information.
  5. Increasing efficiency of practitioners. When providers instantly share medical records, lab results and other health information, they provide quality care more efficiently. As an illustration, a provider who is able to access a patient's medical records via HIE does not need to spend time recording the patient's family health history if that information was previously recorded in the medical record.

Want to learn more about Health Information Exchange? Access a free recorded webinar, "Medical Data When and Where It's Needed: Health Information Exchange."