The impact of health information exchange on health outcomes

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Applied Clinical Informatics


Background and Objective: Healthcare professionals, industry and policy makers have identified Health Information Exchange (HIE) as a solution to improve patient safety and overall quality of care. The potential benefits of HIE on healthcare have fostered its implementation and adoption in the United States. However,there is a dearth of publications that demonstrate HIE effectiveness. The purpose of this review was to identify and describe evidence of HIE impact on healthcare outcomes. Methods: A database search was conducted. The inclusion criteria included original investigations in English that focused on a HIE outcome evaluation. Two independent investigators reviewed the articles. A qualitative coding approach was used to analyze the data. Results: Out of 207 abstracts retrieved, five articles met the inclusion criteria. Of these, 3 were randomized controlled trials, 1 involved retrospective review of data, and 1 was a prospective study. We found that HIE benefits on healthcare outcomes are still sparsely evaluated, and that among the measurements used to evaluate HIE healthcare utilization is the most widely used. Conclusions: Outcomes evaluation is required to give healthcare providers and policy-makers evidence to incorporate in decision-making processes. This review showed a dearth of HIE outcomes data in the published peer reviewed literature so more research in this area is needed. Future HIE evaluations with different levels of interoperability should incorporate a framework that allows a detailed examination of HIE outcomes that are likely to positively affect care. © Schattauer 2011.

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