A significant number of diagnostic tests and procedures can be avoided if the clinicians exchange health information with other health systems.
Allina Health uses Care Everywhere which is a health information exchange tool embedded in the Allina Health electronic health record called ExcellianŽ that is powered by Epic (Epic Systems Corporation, Verona, Wis.) With patient consent, Allina Health providers can use this tool to exchange clinical information electronically with hospitals and clinics from other health systems where that patient has received care.
The study included the emergency departments at Abbott Northwestern, United, Mercy, and Unity hospitals, all part of Allina Health.
Researchers analyzed the care of patients who were seen emergently during a six month period in 2012. The results showed that 560 potentially duplicative diagnostic procedures, such as blood work and imaging, were avoided when the providers used the health information exchange tool.
"Care Everywhere has become a valuable tool as our department strives to be efficient with the patient's time and avoid repeat testing and duplicate costs," said Paul Satterlee, MD, an emergency medicine physician at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.
The study suggests that sharing clinical information with other health systems has the potential to generate greater efficiencies in emergency departments by eliminating duplicate diagnostic testing.