High angle shot of a doctor using a digital tablet to look at a brain scan in a hospital

Electronic health information exchange key to healthcare efficiency, quality, savings

Shortened hospital stays, reduced readmission rates and cost savings are all benefits to the use of health information exchanges in emergency departments, according to a new study.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Visits to the emergency room are generally not the kind of trips most people look forward to taking. While the care emergency departments provide is critical to patient outcomes, many individuals aren’t looking to hang out in the hospital for longer than necessary. 

New research offers a welcome respite to the patients who find themselves in need of emergency care and the healthcare staff who provide such tending. According to insights from the University of Florida Warrington College of Business, the ability to share patient information between entities through health information exchanges (HIEs) is critical to shortening hospital stays, reducing readmission rates and providing cost savings.  

Emre Demirezen

Assistant Professor Emre Demirezen.

“While patient electronic health records are only accessible within an individual organization, HIEs facilitate the interorganizational sharing of patient health information across health organizations, like across hospitals, specialists and laboratories,” Warrington’s Emre Demirezen explained. “Many times, patients are in need of healthcare across the continuum of care, and to our knowledge, our research is the first to demonstrate the benefit of being able to do so through the use of HIEs.”

Specifically, the study found that when HIEs were used in emergency departments, the average patient length of stay was reduced by almost 6%. With roughly a 22-hour average patient length of stay, the research noted that the use of HIEs could reduce that time by around 1.3 hours on average.

Using state-of-the-art data modeling techniques, the researchers also determined that access to HIEs could reduce the risk of patient readmission by 2.15%.

In addition to the positive outcomes for patients, Demirezen and his co-authors found that the average cost per patient hospital visit could be reduced by $33 when HIEs are utilized and readmission rates drop. The reduced length of stay and lower readmission rate also highlight that doctor and nurse time as well as hospital equipment could be utilized more efficiently. 

To complete their study, the researchers used real data from a set of hospitals that use HIEs, including more than 80,000 emergency room visits attended by more than 300 physicians over a 19-month period. 

Based on their results, Demirezen and his co-authors recommend that hospitals make use of HIEs to realize benefits to patient care and cost savings.

“Health information exchanges work,” Demirezen said. “HIE access in emergency departments improves the quality of healthcare by reducing the 30-day readmission likelihood, as well as improves operational efficiency by reducing the patient length of stay.”

The full study is published in Management Science.


  • Ramkumar Janakiraman | University of South Carolina – Darla Moore School of Business
  • Eunho Park | California State University – Long Beach
  • Emre M. Demirezen | University of Florida – Warrington College of Business
  • Subodha Kumar | Temple University – Fox School of Business