Fragmentation of medical information persists in adult acute-care settings, resulting in higher medical costs and increased likelihood of adverse events, according to newly released research.
Information fragmentation adds to costs: study
In a study published in the Dec. 13 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers from Children's Hospital Boston found that of the nearly 3.7 million patients who sought treatment in acute-care settings in Massachusetts during a five-year period, more than 30% visited more than one hospital. And 1%—43,794 patients—visited five or more hospitals during the study period.
The extent of the problem makes a case for improved integration and for the increased use of health information technology, the authors said.
“The number of sites that some patients went to for acute care astonished us,” said Kenneth Mandl, associate professor at Harvard Medical School, director of the Intelligent Health Laboratory at the Children's Hospital Informatics Program, and one of the study's authors. “For the first time we showed just how common it is to go across sites of care, and now understanding this, we can look at the issue of information fragmentation and demonstrate the critical value of making vital health information accessible across settings.”
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