EHR tool reduces diagnostic tests
Article Thumbnail ImageApril 22, 2014 -- A health information exchange tool in electronic health record (EHR) software can help avoid a significant number of diagnostic tests and procedures, according to researchers from Allina Health.

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In a study published in the current issue of Applied Clinical Informatics (Vol. 5:2, pp. 388-401), a team led by Tamara Winden of Allina Health found that the Care Everywhere tool in their Excellian EHR software (Epic Systems) avoided 560 potentially duplicative diagnostic procedures, such as blood work and medical imaging exams, over a six-month period at four emergency departments (EDs).

Allina Health providers can use the tool to exchange clinical information electronically with hospitals and clinics from other health systems where the patient has received care. Researchers analyzed the care of patients who were seen on an emergent basis during a six-month period in 2012 in the emergency departments at Abbott Northwestern, United, Mercy, and Unity hospitals, all of which are part of the Minneapolis-based health network.

The study provided insight into the perceived value of HIE from the point of view of ED physicians and staff, and demonstrated that a point-to-point tool such as Care Everywhere "has the potential to generate greater efficiencies within the ED and impact patient care through elimination of duplicative diagnostic imaging or testing and resource utilization associated with those procedures," the authors concluded.