By Lori Solomon, Editor, Diagnostic Testing & Emerging Technologies
Sharing laboratory results electronically with outside providers is the most achievable health information exchange task, according to analysis from HealthITInteroperability.com. However, hospitals reported that sharing lab results electronically with other hospitals outside of their health system was the hardest task. While much progress has been made in adoption of electronic health records, true interoperability across the continuum of care and between health care systems remains largely elusive.
HealthITInteroperability.com analyzed data from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s interactive dashboard. The groups sought to identify "the vanguard states" in six areas of measurement. The data was based on the 2014 American Hospital Association survey of non-federal acute care hospitals.
Results showed that 69 percent of hospitals nationally could electronically share lab results with any providers outside their health system. States with the highest percentage of hospitals reporting the exchange capability included: Delaware (100 percent), Rhode Island (100 percent), and Virginia (91 percent). States struggling with this measure included: Nevada (34 percent) and Wyoming (36 percent).
Similar results were seen with the percent of hospitals reporting they could electronically share laboratory results with ambulatory providers outside of their health system. Just under two-thirds of hospitals (64 percent) reported the exchange capability. In this measure, only nine states exceeded the 75 percent threshold, compared to 19 states achieving the threshold for exchanging with "any provider.” The states with the greatest exchange between hospitals and ambulatory providers were: Delaware (100 percent), Rhode Island (100 percent), and Virginia (88 percent). The states with the most hospitals struggling to exchange with ambulatory care providers were Mississippi (33 percent), Nevada (36 percent), and Wyoming (36 percent).
The lowest exchange rates for laboratory data (and overall for the six measures analyzed) were among hospitals’ ability to share results with hospitals outside of their health system. Just over half (54 percent) of hospitals reported having this capability and only three states exceeded the 75 percent threshold: Delaware (100 percent), Vermont (80 percent), and Oregon (76 percent).