Over the past decade, multiple studies have documented the value of health information exchange (HIE). eHealth Initiative’s recent “Fifth Annual Survey of Health Information Exchange at the State and Local Levels” found that 69 percent of fully operational exchange efforts reported reductions in healthcare costs.
Respondents indicated that HIE decreased dollars spent on redundant tests; reduced the number of patient admissions to hospitals for medication errors, allergies, or interactions; decreased the cost of care for chronically ill patients; or reduced staff time spent on administration. These results support recent findings from a RAND report stating that the potential benefits of a connected, interoperable healthcare system could save an estimated $80 billion per year.
However, in order to successfully exchange health information and reap the benefits of HIE, organizations must maintain accurate patient identification information. Patient identification integrity is a complex concept, and one that is not well understood throughout the healthcare industry. Many policy makers and industry leaders do not fully comprehend the negative effects of inaccurate patient identification information for even basic health information interchange.