When physicians access HIE data they access a patient’s longitudinal history, and may review medical appointments or incidents the patient has experienced in other clinics or hospitals, study all medications prescribed to the patient, and learn the patient’s results from lab tests or x-rays. This level of increased information, found in one place, may lead to enhanced patient encounters, more effective coordination of care, efficiencies in workflow and productivity for the physician and the staff, and cost savings in staff time and expensive medical tests and labs. Time saved by the physician and staff may allow the scheduling of additional patients in a day or in a work week.
For example: 15 minutes saved in gathering 1 patient’s medical information = 15 minutes that could be utilized in scheduling one additional patient a day. $50 (1 additional appt. per day) x 5 days x 40 weeks = $10,000 annually. In a 3-physician practice, the amount is $30,000 in annual revenue.
HIE fees for a small practice are approximately $3,000 annually with an initial $10,000 EMR integration expense to establish the necessary interfaces. Doing the math means in the first year, the practice could realize $17,000 ($30,000 annual revenue increase minus $13,000 HIE investment) or a ROI of $1.30 for every $1.00 invested. In year two, $30,000 annual revenue increase minus $3,000 annual HIE fee = $27,000 realized increase, or $9.00 for every $1.00 invested.