Health Information Exchange Utilization and Inter-Hospital Transfer Outcomes (Minnesota)

Project Details - Ongoing

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Summary:

Approximately 1.6 million patients are transferred between hospitals annually, typically due to their medical complexity. These inter-hospital transfers operate across healthcare systems that often do not effectively share data, making this population particularly vulnerable to errors. Improving the interoperability or sharing of information between electronic health records (EHRs) could facilitate care coordination throughout the transfer process and improve patient outcomes.

This research project’s goal is to show that interoperability, including adoption of regional health information exchanges, improves mortality rates and care efficiency at the population and patient levels.

The specific aims of the research are to:

  • Conduct a population study that links hospital participation of a health information exchange to outcomes and cost of care following an inter-hospital transfer.
  • Demonstrate that utilization of tools to promote interoperability between hospital EHR systems improves outcomes and reduces cost of inter-hospital transfers. 
  • Determine the impact of seamless EHR integration on the outcomes of patients transferred between two hospitals. 

Research findings will inform both policymakers and hospital administrators, as they design interventions to improve EHR interoperability. Additionally, these findings will generate best practices on how to coordinate the care of a patient transferred between hospitals and directly improve outcomes.

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