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The associations between query-based and directed health information exchange with potentially avoidable use of health care services

Objective: To quantify the impact of two approaches (directed and querybased) to health information exchange (HIE) on potentially avoidable use of health care services.

Data Sources/Study Setting: Data on ambulatory care providers’ adoption of HIE were merged with Medicare feeforservice claims from 2008 to 2014. Providers were from 13 counties in New York served by the Rochester Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO).

Study Design: Linear regression models with provider and year fixed effects were used to estimate changes in the probability of utilization outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries attributed to providers adopting directed and/or querybased HIE compared with beneficiaries attributed to providers who had not adopted HIE.

Data Collection: Providers’ HIE adoption status was determined through Rochester RHIO registration records. RHIO and claims data were linked via National Provider Identifiers.

Principal Findings: Querybased HIE adoption was associated with a 0.2 percentage point reduction in the probability of an ambulatory care sensitive hospitalization and a 1.1 percentage point decrease in the likelihood of an unplanned readmission. Directed HIE adoption was not associated with any outcome.

Conclusions: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) EHR certification criteria includes requirements for directed HIE, but not querybased HIE. Pending further research, certification criteria should place equal weight on facilitating querybased and directed exchange.

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