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

Abstract

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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References

1. Pitts SR, Pines JM, Handrigan MT, et al. National trends in emergency department occupancy, 2001 to 2008: effect of inpatient admissions versus emergency department practice intensity. Ann Emerg Med. 2012; 60: 679–686.
 
2. Carr CM, DiGioia CH, Wagner J, et al. Primer in health information exchange for the emergency physician: benefits and barriers. South Med J. 2013; 106: 374–378.
 
3. Fontaine P, Ross SE, Zink T, et al. Systematic review of health information exchange in primary care practices. J Am Board Fam Med. 2010; 23: 655–670.
 
4. Institute of Medicine. Crossing the quality chasm: a new health system for the 21st century. http://iom.edu/Reports/2001/Crossing-the-Quality-Chasm-A-New-Health-System-for-the-21st-Century.aspx. Published March 1, 2001. Accessed April 12, 2013.
 
5. Gaddis GM, Holt TR, Woods M. Drug interactions in at-risk emergency department patients. Acad Emerg Med. 2002; 9: 1162–1167.