Emergency department physicians who accessed an upstate New York health information exchange's data were able to reduce the odds of patients being admitted to the hospital by 30 percent, according to a new study conducted by Weill Cornell Medical College researchers.

The study was published in Applied Clinical Informatics.

The researchers identified 15,645 adults from New York State with an emergency department visit during a 6-month period, all of whom consented to have their information accessible in the HIE system, and were continuously enrolled in two area health plans. Using claims, the researchers determined if the ED encounter resulted in an admission.

The HIE system was accessed during 2.4 percent of encounters, and the researchers found odds of an admission were 30 percent lower when the system was accessed after controlling for confounding. They estimated annual savings in the sample was $357,000.

"These findings suggest that the use of an HIE system may reduce hospitalizations from the ED with resultant cost savings," they concluded. "This is an important outcome given the substantial financial investment in interventions designed to improve provider access to patient information in the U.S."

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