A study of emergency department visits at 10 Milwaukee hospitals finds average savings of $29 per visit when the attending physician can access historical medical encounter information from a patient's insurer via a health information exchange.

"Decreased utilization of imaging procedures and diagnostic tests drove this cost-savings," according to the study, published in the July-August 2011 issue of American Health & Drug Benefits and available here.

Humana Inc., which supports the Wisconsin Health Information Exchange by contributing data, conducted the study with the HIE. Running from December 2008 through March 2010, the study examined 1,482 fully insured Humana members who sought ED care at least twice during the study period. The study examined costs between patients whose encounter history was and was not queried from the WHIE database.


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