News Feature | September 9, 2014

Only 34% Of Hospitals Have Implemented Health Information Exchanges

By Megan Williams, contributing writer

Hospital Health Information Exchanges

The Office Of The National Coordinator recently released a report on the state of health information exchange (HIE) adoption and trends among providers. Overall, the report demonstrated a growth in exchange activity, but also demonstrated a need for growth in multiple areas, specifically among hospitals, of which only 34 percent have implemented HIE.

The Importance Of Stage 3 Meaningful Use

These information exchanges will be a vital part of attestation for Meaningful Use Stage 3 as the final stage (deadline set for 2016) focuses heavily on improved outcomes, and will include requirements around HIE.  These outcomes will focus specifically around data following the patient from encounter to encounter. This means that hospitals will not only be expected to capture data, but also that the exchange of the data will need to be increasingly structured. All of this is meant as a build-up to patient-centered, interoperable health information exchange across provider organizations. Outcome improvement will rely heavily on the effective application of data to affect community health, and information exchange will be crucial in the collection, processing, interpretation, and application of the data in question.


Hospitals will find multiple benefits from implementing HIE technology. According to HIMSS, hospitals stand to gain the ability to provide better and more efficient patient care, the ability to distribute hospital information to doctors, improved outreach into their communities, and better capabilities for coping with shifting reimbursement models.

Key Points Of Hospital Use Of HIE

According to information recently released by,

  • Hospital exchange activity has grown significantly since 2008.
  • Exchange of data during transitions is limited for hospitals and physicians.
  • State HIE grantees report increased capabilities for query-based and directed exchange, as well as increased ability to support exchange through the provision of key services.

Hospital Exchange Statistics

The percent of non-federal, acute care hospitals that electronically exchanged lab results, radiology reports, clinical care summaries, or medication lists with outside providers rose significantly from 2008 to 2013.

  • Exchange with providers overall outside of the organization rose from 41 percent to 62 percent.
  • Exchange with ambulatory providers outside the organization rose from 36 percent to 57 percent.
  • Exchange with other hospitals outside the organization rose from 15 percent to 40 percent.

In relation to the capability to query and send secure messages, before Stage 2 attestation, 51 percent were able to query patient health information electronically and 41 percent were able to send and receive secure messages that contained protected health information (PHI) to and from external sources.

Recommended Resource

To gain more knowledge of the issues solutions providers are likely to face around Meaningful Use overall, we recommend our article, “Meaningful Use And Its Burden On VARs”.