Annual health information exchange survey shows positive ROI

A growing number of providers and health plans surveyed by the eHealth Initiative report a positive return on their healthcare exchange investments, according to eHi's fifth annual survey, released Thursday.

For the first time in an eHi survey, a majority (69 percent) of respondents reported a positive financial return on their investment for participating stakeholders, including health plans, hospitals, laboratories and physician practices. In 2007, 31 percent reported a positive ROI.

The electronic exchange of health information between physicians, hospitals, health plans and patients is decreasing the cost of care and improving outcomes, the survey found. The reported savings came through elimination of redundant tests, fewer hospital stays for medication errors, decreased costs of caring for chronically ill patients and reduced staff time spent on administration, those surveyed reported.

eHi's "Fifth Annual Survey of Health Information Exchange at the State and Local Levels," which included responses from 130 community-based initiatives in 48 states, showed the significant impact that fully operational initiatives are having on improving health care delivery and efficiency, officials said.

About half of fully operational exchange efforts reported positive impacts on healthcare delivery, including fewer prescribing errors, improved access to test results, improved compliance with chronic care and prevention guidelines, better care outcomes for patients, increased recognition of disease outbreaks, improved quality of practice life and reductions in malpractice insurance costs, according to the survey.

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