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CalRHIO Selects RAND-USC to Evaluate Savings Resulting from Use of Statewide Health Information Exchange
Date:6/29/2009

to patients. Providing emergency department physicians with access to real-time patient information through the statewide health information exchange is critical to improving decision making to ensure the right care is delivered," said Cheryl Damberg, PhD, RAND principal investigator. "Because CalRHIO represents the largest implementation of an information exchange in the United States, our assessment of how the HIE affects the use of services and hospital admissions will make a significant contribution towards demonstrating the extent to which health IT systems can deliver savings."

CalRHIO has developed a sustainable business model that includes a "shared savings" strategy, premised on the expectation that HIE will create savings for health plans and that a portion of those savings provide CalRHIO a stable ongoing source of self-funding for HIE. In the emergency department, better information on the patient's medical history is expected to help physicians avoid unnecessary tests and admissions and more efficiently prescribe medications. To determine savings, the RAND/USC researchers will conduct baseline measures for each participating health plan before HIE is implemented and after the system has been in use. De-identified findings will be published in peer-reviewed journals to inform other HIE efforts around the country.

"Emergency departments provide perhaps the most compelling case for both quality gains and cost reductions in health information exchange," said Glenn Melnick, PhD, USC Senior Advisor. "Our previous research found that California emergency departments are busier than their counterparts nationally and their patients are sicker. HIE has the potential to greatly improve care in the emergency department and, through better communication, help primary care physicians manage patients long-term. We are very excited to be associated with this critical project."

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