Electronic access to prior medical records results in a better, less costly patient experience in the emergency department on a number of fronts, according to new University of Michigan research.
In a study on the effectiveness of recent federal efforts to increase electronic sharing of patient health records, U-M researchers found that when information requests from external organizations were returned electronically instead of by fax, the information was seen by a doctor an hour faster—cutting a patient’s time in the emergency department by nearly 53 minutes.
That hour of faster return also reduced diagnostic tests like MRI, x-rays and CT by 1.6-2.5 percentage points, and lowered the likelihood of hospital admission by 2.4 percentage points. Average costs for care also were $1,187 lower.
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