HIE reduces length of stay, readmission rates, demand on physicians

Health information exchange (HIE) can improve the quality of care and clinical workflow, according to a study testing its benefits. The study, "The Effects of Health Information Exchange Access on Healthcare Quality and Efficiency: An Empirical Investigation," examined how using HIE gives physicians a full view of patient’s health—and how these insights lead to better care.

Taking place in New York, the first state to implement a statewide HIE platform called SHIN-NY, the study collected data from 86,000 emergency departments and 46,270 patients over 19 months. Utilizing the sharing of information from primary care physicians to specialists or laboratories across the HIE provided clinicians a full picture of a patient’s health.

“The results of our study leave no doubt that HIE access improves quality of healthcare and operational efficiency,” said study co-author Emre M. Demirezen, PhD, assistant professor at State University of New York (SUNY) Binghamton’s School of Management.

Results revealed three main benefits of HIE including reductions in patient stay in the ER, readmission rates within 30 days of release and the number of physicians needed to examine patients. HIE was able to reduce patient’s length of stay by 7.04 percent, from 22 hours, 23 minutes to 20 hours, 48 minutes. Readmission risk after 30 days fell by 4.5 percent, while remaining constant through 60 days after discharge. The number of doctors needed to examine a patient fell by 12 percent, improving overall care and workflow.