An Evaluation of a Payer-Based Electronic Health Record in an Emergency Department on Quality, Efficiency, and Cost of Care
AuthorDaniel, Gregory Wayne
health information technology
health information exchange
length of stay
health care economics
AdvisorMalone, Daniel C.
Committee ChairMalone, Daniel C.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractBackground: Health information exchange technologies are currently being implemented in many practice settings with the promise to improve quality, efficiency, and costs of care. The benefits are likely highest in settings where entry into the healthcare system is gained; however, in no setting is the need for timely, accurate, and pertinent information more critical than in the emergency department (ED). This study evaluated the use of a payer-based electronic health record (EHR) in an ED on quality, efficiency, and costs of care among a commercially insured population.Methods: Data came from a large health plan and the ED of a large urban ED. Visits with the use of a payer-based EHR were identified from claims between 9/1/05 and 2/17/06. A historical comparison sample of visits was identified from 11/1/04 to 3/31/05. Outcomes included return visits, ED duration, use of laboratory and diagnostic imaging, total costs during and in the four weeks after, and prescription drug utilization.Results: A total of 2,288 ED visits were analyzed (779 EHR visits and 1,509 comparison visits). Discharged visits were associated with an 18 minute shorter duration (95% CI: 5-33); whereas, the EHR among admitted visits was associated with a 77 minute reduction (95% CI: 28-126). The EHR was also associated with $1,560 (95% CI: $43-$2,910) savings in total plan paid for the visit among admitted visits. No significant differences were observed on return visits, laboratory or diagnostic imaging services and total costs over the four week follow-up. Exploratory analyses suggested that the EHR may be associated with a reduction in the number of prescription drugs used among chronic medication users.Conclusion: The EHR studied was associated with a significant reduction in ED duration. Technologies that can reduce ED lengths of stay can have a substantial impact on the care provided to patients and their satisfaction. The data suggests that the EHR may be associated with lower health plan paid amounts among admitted visits and a reduction in the number of pharmacy claims after the visit among chronic users of prescription drugs. Additional research should be conducted to confirm these findings.
Degree ProgramPharmaceutical Sciences