Invited Commentary

Commentary on “Primer in Health Information Exchange for the Emergency Physician Benefits and Barriers”

Authors: David M. Nestler, MD, MS, Lori N. Scanlan-Hanson, RN, MS, Kathryn Walker Zavaleta, MHSA


Patients seek emergency care for a variety of reasons. Where a health information exchange (HIE) exists, emergency medical providers have access to clinical information that may otherwise represent a void. The general trend toward greater treatment intensity1 in the nation’s emergency departments reinforces the importance of research on the design and implementation of HIEs and the policies that seek to promote their effective use. Indeed, the experience of practitioners suggests that the most complicated patients who present in the emergency setting may benefit most from expanded access to information from their caregivers. The increasing intensity of patient conditions, the current epidemic of overcrowding in emergency departments, and the need to find cost-effective improvement information suggest that HIEs represent a timely policy and research agenda.

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