Community health information exchanges can help the members of the community by providing information useful to a particular patient. They have also been found to be better than proprietary health information exchanges. The findings of this study are published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. The new findings "represent progress in reaching the national goals of better-quality care, improved population health and lower costs," said Nir Menachemi, a professor in the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI, chair of the school's Department of Health Policy and Management, and the study's lead investigator.
‘Community health information exchanges are usually those where a community provider can share information about any patient. These exchanges were found to be better than proprietary health information exchanges that have limited access.’Benefits reported from the current systematic review include fewer duplicated procedures, reduced imaging, lower costs and improved patient safety.
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Health information exchanges allow doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare providers to share a patient's computerized medical information electronically.
"Up until this point, the promise of health information exchanges to improve care and reduce costs has been theoretical," Menachemi said. "We now have reasonably strong evidence that there are benefits to using health information exchanges."
Researchers found community health information exchanges were more likely to produce benefits than proprietary or enterprise health information exchanges. Community health information exchanges are those in which any provider in a community can share information about any patient. Proprietary health information exchanges are those that limit access, for example, to just one hospital and individual health care providers.
"It looks like community health information exchanges might be more likely to achieve improved outcomes," Menachemi said.
Only weak evidence was reported linking health information exchanges to reduced costs, use of health services or quality of care when the first systematic review of health information exchanges was published in 2015. Menachemi was also the lead investigator of that review.
"If so, this finding bodes well for health information exchange's ability to deliver on anticipated improvements in the delivery of care," Menachemi said.