HIE and Driving

I remember when my father was teaching me to drive. I asked him whether he was a good or bad driver. He stated emphatically that he was a better driver than most. Since then I have asked many people the same question, and the answer has almost always been the same: most people have felt that they were better drivers than average. Now, we all know it is statistically impossible for everyone to be better than average, and if you have been on a freeway recently, you may have seen several examples that prove this.

KLAS recently launched a study into health information exchanges (HIEs), and the reaction of providers concerning HIEs has been mixed. Almost everyone agrees that they are necessary for improving care, but many providers do not want to put in the effort. Some feel HIEs are failing and so aren’t worth the effort, some feel that HIEs are the future, and some are sitting by the sidelines watching others get dirty. 

No matter what your point of view, it all comes down to improving patient safety and patient care. An oft spoken-about study by The Commonwealth Fund found that

  • 30% of the time, physicians could not find information previously recorded on paper;
  • 11% of the time, the same drug or radiology exam was ordered. Patients complied half of the time;
  • providers were not aware of one in four prescriptions a patient had previously been prescribed;
  • one in seven admissions and one in five lab tests and radiology exams were ordered due to retrieval barriers.[1]

If I were to ask a random sampling of providers about care at their facilities, most would say that their patients were receiving better than average care. Most would look at the above numbers from The Commonwealth Fund and shake their heads, thinking those things weren’t happening in their facilities. But like in the driving analogy, not everyone would be right.

KLAS is looking for feedback on HIEs from every point of view to get a real picture on what is happening.

  • What does the future of HIEs look like?
  • Are providers better positioned to establish an ACO by participating in an HIE?
  • What are HIE pioneers doing and what successes are they seeing?

[1] Electronic Medical Records: Getting It Right and Going to Scale, W. Edward Hammond, The Commonwealth Fund, January 2004.

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