Health information exchange among U.S. acute care hospitals grew significantly last year, according to new data from a nationwide American Hospital Association survey released by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

In 2014, three-quarters of hospitals reported that they electronically exchanged health information with outside ambulatory providers or hospitals—a 23 percent increase since 2013 and an 85 percent increase since 2008, the year the AHA started collecting data. AHA’s survey captures information on exchange of health information between hospitals and ambulatory providers that are not part of the hospital’s organization.

Last year, more than six in ten hospitals electronically exchanged health information with outside hospitals, a one-year increase of 55 percent. In addition, nearly seven in ten hospitals (69 percent) exchanged health information with outside ambulatory providers, a 21 percent increase.

Also See: HIE Among Hospitals Grows, Still Needs Improvement

“Our past analysis showed steady growth among hospitals with both trading partners; however, we found substantial deficits with hospital-to-hospital exchange. Prior research studies suggested that this was due to competition and a weak business model. And our prior results substantiated those findings. However, now this gap is rapidly closing,” according to a blog co-authored by Erica Galvez, ONC’s interoperability and exchange portfolio manager, and Matthew Swain, program analyst in ONC’s Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Analysis.

ONC also examined the types of information hospitals exchanged with outside providers, which include laboratory results, radiology reports, clinical care summaries, and medication history. In 2014, the exchange of clinical care summaries among hospitals with outside ambulatory providers or hospitals increased substantially from 42 percent to 64 percent, a one-year increase of 52 percent. Further, the exchange of medication history grew from 37 percent to 58 percent.

“Our prior research found that exchange among all data types have increased since 2011; however, we also observed a gap in regards to the type of data exchanged. In last year’s data brief, we reported that hospitals exchanged laboratory results and radiology reports at much higher rates than clinical care summaries and medication lists. Now this gap has shrunk significantly. Each measure is no more than four percentage points from one another; except for medication histories, which still fall a little behind (though closer than previous years),” write Galvez and Swain.

The ONC data brief, Health Information Exchange among U.S. Non-federal Acute Care Hospitals: 2008-2014, is available here.

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