The key findings from the 2008 survey are as follows:
A majority (69%) of the fully operational exchange efforts (29/42) report reductions in health care costs. These respondents say health information exchange allows them to:
Decrease dollars spent on redundant tests
Reduce the number of patient admissions to hospitals for medication errors, allergies or interactions
Decrease the cost of care for chronically ill patients
Reduce staff time spent on administration
About half (52%) of fully operational exchange efforts (22/42) report positive impacts on health care delivery, including:
A decrease in prescribing errors
Improved access to test results
Improved compliance with chronic care and prevention guidelines
Better care outcomes for patients
Increased recognition of disease outbreaks
Improved quality of practice life
Reductions in malpractice insurance costs
In addition to improving care delivery, tackling population health challenges continues to be a goal of many operational health information exchange efforts with ten offering disease or chronic care management services, eight offering quality improvement reporting for clinicians, six offering public health reporting, and five offering quality improvement reporting for purchasers or payers.
For the first time, a majority (69%) of the fully operational respondents (29/42), report a positive financial return on their investment (ROI) for their participating stakeholders, including health plans, hospitals, laboratories, and physician practices. In 2007, just ten (31%) reported a positive ROI.
Those of us who have been following the development of these initiatives for the last several years have known about these possibilities. It is nice to now have evidence that these community collaboratives are making a difference and beginning to see a return on their investement. I believe that if community leaders step back just a little more and look at a bigger picture, they will find even more contributions to their ROI and improved quality and safety. (See my previous post on the Softer Side of ROI.)
In my own organization, we are completing the installation of our PACS system and look forward to realizing our ROI projections. We are moving forward as well!