Survey Shows That Benefits Of Health Information Exchanges Are Not Evaluated Properly

One of the recent surveys conducted by RAND Corporation has found that patient health data of patients may not be available readily with doctors as expected by all. The survey has found that the data in medical history form template is scattered among hospitals, emergency departments and doctors, and the communication failure between them is a major cause of concern. Even though government is funding for proper sharing of information related to the data on medical history form template, the effectiveness of the program is not evaluated properly.

The main author of the survey, Robert Rudin says, “Many patients aren’t aware of how fragmented the health information is”, and “Some [patients] expect doctors to have all of their records available at the time of their visit. In practice that doesn’t always happen.” The study shows that about 10 percent of ambulatory clinics and 30 percent of hospitals have used the connecting systems. Even though these numbers seem to be promising, there is very little study carried out in this field and therefore, how this is going to benefit the patients are yet to be found out.

The health information exchanges, which act as the connecting systems, play a major role in the U.S health care policy. These systems are designed to cut down the health costs and avoid wasting resources. These systems help the doctors to acquire information about the patients from the medical history form template online. With this, medical errors could be avoided and better diagnoses can be performed. With the help of these exchanges, patients no longer have to carry their medical history form template with them. In addition, patients do not have to do tests that were already conducted earlier.

Rudin says, “One would hypothesize that if care is coordinated better in an outpatient setting, then there would be fewer need for follow-up visits and delays in care, and fewer emergency room visits, but we don’t have the evidence to support that yet.” He adds, “The real message here is that we don’t have enough data to draw conclusions. It’s very possible some of these operational [exchanges] are doing a great job and producing a lot of value in terms of cost savings and benefits.”

Eighty-five studies were reviewed in the survey and the authors concluded that only a few facts are known about the efficiency of the exchanges, mainly because more than 100 exchanges operate in the country and among them, just 13 are being evaluated.