Research published by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) show that health information exchange (HIE) between hospitals and other providers jumped 41 percent between 2008 and 2012. Dr. Farzad Mostashari, M.D., and ONC researchers wrote the study which indicates that six in 10 hospitals actively exchanged electronic health information with providers and hospitals outside their organization in 2012.

Our new research is crystal clear: health information exchange is happening and it is growing. But we still have a long road ahead toward universal interoperability.

Dr. Farzad Mostashari, M.D.

Electronic health records (EHRs) and health information organizations (HIOs) complement one another to enable health information exchange. Stage 2 Meaningful Use requires eligible hospitals to exchange with  organizations using different EHR systems and share transitions of care data can help accelerate hospital use of HIE as a means to enhance care quality and safety.

Highlights of the new study show:

  • 58 percent of hospitals exchanged data with providers outside their organization in 2012 and hospitals’ exchanges with other hospitals outside their organization more than doubled during the study period
  • Hospitals with basic EHR systems and participating in HIOs had the highest rates of hospital exchange activity in 2012, regardless of the organizational affiliation of the provider exchanging data or the type of clinical information exchanged
  • The proportion of hospitals that adopted at least a basic EHR and participated in an HIO grew more than fivefold from 2008 to 2012
  • Between 2008 and 2012, there were significant increases in the percent of hospitals exchanging radiology reports, laboratory results, clinical care summaries, and medication lists with hospitals and providers outside of their organization
  • 84 percent of hospitals that adopted an EHR and participated in a regional HIO exchanged information with providers outside their organization

These are important foundations that enable ubiquitous digital health data in a standard interchange, enabling in-depth analysis and increasingly, Cloud and Software as a Service methods to deploy, store and use the information to improve healthcare.  These in turn are important foundations to enable Accountable Care.   ICD-10 is the new data standard that will express the condition of the patient and how providers get reimbursed.

This in turn – finally – lays a foundation for Accountable Care Organizations.

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