- Medical imaging is one of the highest areas of utilization in healthcare, but the use of HIEs can put a significant dent in duplicate testing, to the tune of 25%, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Managed Care.
- The study revealed that medical imaging tests are frequently repeated within relatively short periods of time because of lack of access to previous images. The authors' hypothesis was that using the HIE to connect to the data from multiple stakeholders and participants in patient care could help providers fill in the gaps and prevent repeat visits to the radiology lab.
- The study, which reviewed patients in an 11-county territory in New York, further revealed that 18% of patients had one or more imaging procedure between 2009 and 2010, and that 7.7% of images were repeated over the course of a 90-day period. In addition, the study discovered that 5% of patients with providers who used the HIE had repeat medical imaging tests performed, compared to 8% of patients with providers who did not participate in an HIE.
HIEs are like the Rocky of health IT. They are maligned constantly by the industry, but almost every new study about them demonstrates that they actually get results.
Most of the complaints tend to be about the expense of these exchanges, and while they can be costly, so is just about every other EHR implementation and network. What's going to be really expensive pretty soon is the high cost of not meeting Meaningful Use requirements, not reducing costs and not achieving efficiencies in coordinated care—jobs that HIEs seem to be able to accomplish under the right circumstances. When it is shown that a community-based HIE can help reduce repeat medical imaging—one of the costliest areas of healthcare—it seems illogical to fight it.
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