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Analysis Of Duplicative CT Scans Shows Conservative Cost Savings Of $1.3 Million To Western New York Health System

Findings also show opportunity for enhanced patient safety by reducing unnecessary radiation exposure

BUFFALO, N.Y., Feb. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Through HEALTHeLINK's health information exchange (HIE), participating providers have instant access to patient health information, including diagnostic tests that may have been conducted in a clinical setting. Along these lines, HEALTHeLINK recently conducted an analysis of the number of multiple computed tomography (CT) scans ordered for the same patient and on the same body part within six months utilizing clinical data available within its HIE. 

Data was analyzed for the time period of July 2011 through December 2012.  Data to support the analysis was also provided by the region's three major health insurance companies who also are stakeholders in HEALTHeLINK as are the region's hospital systems and other provider organizations.

The results are now available in HEALTHeLINK's latest white paper, "Study of Duplicate CT Scans Show Promise of Health Information Exchange" available here. Some of HEALTHeLINK'S key findings include:

  • Approximately 90% of the 2,763 potentially unnecessary duplicative CT scans were ordered by physicians who either never or infrequently used HEALTHeLINK.
  • About 50% of the patients who had a duplicative CT scan had already consented to have their information accessed through HEALTHeLINK by their treating providers.
  • More than 95% of the identified potentially unnecessary CT scans were done in a hospital setting.
  • The lost opportunity to utilize HEALTHeLINK before ordering a CT scan could have resulted in savings in the health system of approximately $1.3 million.

"These findings demonstrate the value an HIE provides by reducing the number of unnecessary tests which saves time, money and radiation exposure to our patients," said Dr. David Scamurra, pathologist, Eastern Great Lakes Pathology/X-Cell Laboratories and HEALTHeLINK chairman. "The technology provided by HEALTHeLINK can be used to address these issues on many fronts as Western New York's hospitals work to maximize the implementation and use of the HIE in emergency departments, on patient floors and in clinics, and doctors do the same in their private physician offices."

"We erred on being extremely conservative in our analysis, so we believe that the potential unnecessary radiation exposure to patients and cost savings to the health system could be significantly more," said Daniel E. Porreca, HEALTHeLINK's executive director.  "The premise of investing in health information technology and health information exchange is to enable a patient's health data, with their consent, to be shared through an HIE in order to improve the patient's quality of care, the patient's health, and in the process lowering the cost of care for the community.  We believe this study shows that we are on the right track and renews our resolve to ensure doctors can efficiently and in a user friendly way use the information that is available to them in order to better treat their patients."

To view HEALTHeLINK's latest white paper on duplicate CT scans, click here.

About HEALTHeLINKHEALTHeLINK, the Western New York Clinical Information Exchange, is a collaboration among the region's hospitals, physicians, health plans and other health care providers to serve the eight counties of western New York State. HEALTHeLINK was created to enable the exchange of clinical information in secure and meaningful ways to improve both efficiency and quality, while also helping to control health care costs. Patients who provide consent allow physicians and providers directly involved in their treatment to securely access relevant medical information via HEALTHeLINK, resulting in more timely and effective treatment at the point of care.

HEALTHeLINK has been recognized for its work in building a regional health information technology infrastructure and for testing innovative approaches by both state and federal agencies, including being named a Beacon Community, an effort funded by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. For more information about HEALTHeLINK, please visit

Contacts: Laura Jacobs/Earl Wells


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