Outcomes from health information exchange: Systematic review and future research needs

William R. Hersh, Annette M. Totten, Karen B. Eden, Beth Devine, Paul Gorman, Steven Kassakian, Susan S. Woods, Monica Daeges, Miranda Pappas, Marian S. McDonagh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Background: Health information exchange (HIE), the electronic sharing of clinical information across the boundaries of health care organizations, has been promoted to improve the efficiency, cost-effectiveness, quality, and safety of health care delivery. Objective: To systematically review the available research on HIE outcomes and analyze future research needs. Methods: Data sources included citations from selected databases from January 1990 to February 2015. We included English-language studies of HIE in clinical or public health settings in any country. Data were extracted using dual review with adjudication of disagreements. Results: We identified 34 studies on outcomes of HIE. No studies reported on clinical outcomes (eg, mortality and morbidity) or identified harms. Low-quality evidence generally finds that HIE reduces duplicative laboratory and radiology testing, emergency department costs, hospital admissions (less so for readmissions), and improves public health reporting, ambulatory quality of care, and disability claims processing. Most clinicians attributed positive changes in care coordination, communication, and knowledge about patients to HIE. Conclusions: Although the evidence supports benefits of HIE in reducing the use of specific resources and improving the quality of care, the full impact of HIE on clinical outcomes and potential harms are inadequately studied. Future studies must address comprehensive questions, use more rigorous designs, and employ a standard for describing types of HIE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere39
JournalJMIR Medical Informatics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2015


  • Diagnostic tests
  • Health information exchange
  • Outcome assessment (health care)
  • Patient readmission
  • Routine
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management


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