Hospitals save money via records access

Nov. 14, 2011 at 8:45 PM
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NASHVILLE, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- One purpose of healthcare reform was to lower costs by adopting electronic medical records and U.S. researchers say one city has shown it works.

Dr. Mark Frisse of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and colleagues studied all emergency department encounters at 12 Memphis-area emergency departments over a 13-month period.

Their study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, found the sharing of electronic data among the 12 emergency departments saved $1.9 million in one year by reducing hospital admissions and redundant imaging tests.

The researchers, who used an analysis method adjusted for admission type, length of stay and other data, looked at emergency room-originated hospital admissions, admissions for observation, laboratory testing, head CT, body CT, ankle radiographs, chest radiographs and echocardiograms.

The national experience with health information exchange is growing in the number of sites exploring this technology and the business models that rely on it, but because of the economic immaturity of health information exchange, reports of measurable financial benefit are few in number, the researchers say.

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