The benefits of health information exchange: An updated systematic review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

25 Scopus citations


Objective: Widespread health information exchange (HIE) is a national objective motivated by the promise of improved care and a reduction in costs. Previous reviews have found little rigorous evidence that HIE positively affects these anticipated benefits. However, early studies of HIE were methodologically limited. The purpose of the current study is to review the recent literature on the impact of HIE. Methods: We used the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines to conduct our systematic review. PubMed and Scopus databases were used to identify empirical articles that evaluated HIE in the context of a health care outcome. Results: Our search strategy identified 24 articles that included 63 individual analyses. The majority of the studies were from the United States representing 9 states; and about 40% of the included analyses occurred in a handful of HIEs from the state of New York. Seven of the 24 studies used designs suitable for causal inference and all reported some beneficial effect from HIE; none reported adverse effects. Conclusions: The current systematic review found that studies with more rigorous designs all reported benefits from HIE. Such benefits include fewer duplicated procedures, reduced imaging, lower costs, and improved patient safety. We also found that studies evaluating community HIEs were more likely to find benefits than studies that evaluated enterprise HIEs or vendor-mediated exchanges. Overall, these finding bode well for the HIEs ability to deliver on anticipated improvements in care delivery and reduction in costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1259-1265
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Medical Informatics Association
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2018


  • electronic health records
  • health care costs
  • health information exchange
  • health information technology
  • medical informatics
  • quality of health care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics

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