A new study of more than 2,000 emergency department visits in Upstate New York suggests that querying a health information exchange could significantly reduce laboratory tests and radiologic exams.
Use of the HIE was associated with a 52 percent cut in the expected total number of laboratory tests and a 36 drop in radiology examinations ordered per patient.
Also significant was that the study was another boost to the idea that medical scribes can be very important in improving healthcare by freeing up clinicians to more directly and for a longer time concentrate on their patients.
The study’s principal researcher, Brookings Institution fellow Niam Yaraghi, scribes ensured that 100 percent of the patients in the study cohort had queries run through the exchange, as opposed to only 6-7 percent of patient encounters without them. Most physicians don’t have the time to deal with an HIE in the stress and busyness of an emergency room.
“The mere existence of them (scribes) point to the user unfriendliness of our EHR systems,” Yaraghi told Modern Healthcare.
Physicians like to use scribes because doctors find EHRs slow and clunky to use, and interfere with their interactions with patients.