[This review was originally published in Healthcare Quarterly 19(1)]
Health information exchange systems can link the results of diagnostic imaging tests across hospitals and geographic areas. One of the potential benefits of these systems is a reduction in imaging studies ordered by physicians who do not know about or have access to the previous imaging results. We used administrative data from Ontario, Canada (from the year 2013), to measure how frequently the same cross-sectional imaging study is repeated in a patient. Overall, 12.8% of the specified imaging tests were repeated within 90 days. An area of Southwestern Ontario with a health information exchange system for diagnostic imaging tests had a 13% lower rate of repeat cross-sectional imaging compared with the rest of the province (11.2 vs 12.8%, p < 0.01). The use of linked radiology systems may be able to reduce the number of repeated imaging tests and improve patient safety and hospital efficiency.
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