Electronic Sharing of Diagnostic Information and Patient Outcomes.

Publication Date

January 2018

Document Type


Publication Title

The American Journal of Managed Care





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ABSTRACTObjectives: Hospital sharing of electronic health record (EHR) diagnostic data has the potential to improve communication across providers and improve patient outcomes. However, implementing EHR systems can be difficult for hospitals. This study uses Hospital Compare (HC) and American Hospital Association (AHA) Annual Information Technology Survey data to estimate the association between sharing EHR data and patient outcomes.Study Design: Descriptive and multivariate linear regression analyses.Methods: This study links 2 years of HC data on 30-day patient mortality and readmissions for heart failure (HF) and pneumonia with 2 years of AHA data. The sample was restricted to hospitals included in both years in both sets of data. We estimated the associations between sharing EHR diagnostic data and patient outcomes with a multivariate linear regression analysis. Results were adjusted by hospital characteristics from the AHA annual survey.Results: Hospitals’ sharing of radiology report data with hospitals within their system was associated with significantly lower mortality scores for pneumonia (–0.22; P <.01). Conversely, hospital sharing of radiology report data with hospitals outside their system was associated with significantly higher HF mortality scores (0.26; P <.01). We found qualitatively similar results with sharing laboratory results through EHRs. Conclusions: Hospital sharing of EHR data with providers within their system is associated with better patient mortality, whereas sharing data with providers outside their system is associated with worsened patient mortality. Improving communication between hospitals using different EHR systems may be more crucial than simply expanding data sharing.