medical recordsAccording to a new survey from the nationwide American Hospital Association, the exchange of health information between acute care hospitals and outside ambulatory providers jumped by 23 percent last year. The results were released by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

About 75 percent of hospitals reported that they exchanged health information electronically with outside hospitals or ambulatory care providers last year. That’s 85 percent higher than when the AHA began collecting data back in 2008.

A blog co-written by Erica Galvez, ONC’s interoperability and exchange portfolio manager, and Matthew Swain, program analyst in ONC’s Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Analysis stated the following:

“Our past analysis showed steady growth among hospitals with both trading partners; however, we found substantial deficits with hospital-to-hospital exchange. Prior research studies suggested that this was due to competition and a weak business model. And our prior results substantiated those findings. However, now this gap is rapidly closing.”

The types of information hospitals exchanged with outside providers included laboratory results, radiology reports, clinical care summaries, and medication history. Last year, clinical care summary exchanges between hospitals and outside ambulatory providers or hospitals increased from 42 percent to 64 percent (a 52 percent increase from the previous year). Medication history exchanges grew from 37 percent to 58 percent.

Galvez and Swain went on to write that “Our prior research found that exchange among all data types have increased since 2011; however, we also observed a gap in regards to the type of data exchanged. In last year’s data brief, we reported that hospitals exchanged laboratory results and radiology reports at much higher rates than clinical care summaries and medication lists. Now this gap has shrunk significantly. Each measure is no more than four percentage points from one another; except for medication histories, which still fall a little behind (though closer than previous years).”