Publication: Health information exchange systems and length of stay in readmissions to a different hospital

Health information exchange systems and length of stay in readmissions to a different hospital. 

Journal of Hospital Medicine, 2016. 11(6): p. 401-6.

Flaks-Manov N, Shadmi E, Hoshen M, Balicer RD.


Background: Readmission to a different hospital than the original discharge hospital may result in breakdowns in continuity of care. In different-hospital readmissions (DHRs), continuity can be maintained when hospitals are connected through health information exchange (HIE) systems.

Objective: To examine whether length of readmission stay (LORS) differs between same-hospital readmissions and DHRs, and whether in DHRs the LORS differs by the availability of HIE.

Design: A retrospective cohort study of all internal medicine 30-day readmissions in 27 Israeli hospitals between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010.

Setting: Clalit Health Services-Israel’s largest integrated healthcare provider and payer.

Population: Adult Clalit members (aged 18 and older) with at least 1 readmission during the study period.

Methods: A multivariate marginal Cox model tested the likelihood for discharge during each readmission day in same-hospital readmissions (SHRs), DHRs with HIE, and DHRs without HIE.

Results: Of the 27,057 readmissions, 3130 (11.6%) were DHRs and 792 where DHRs with HIE in both the index and readmitting hospital. Partial continuity (DHRs with HIE) was associated with decreased likelihood of discharge on any given day compared with full continuity (SHRs) (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.85, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.79-0.91). Similar results were obtained for no continuity (DHRs without HIE) versus full continuity (HR = 0.90, 95% CI: 0.86-0.94). The difference between DHRs with and without HIE was not significant.

Conclusions: The prolonged LORS in DHRs versus SHRs was not mitigated by the existence of HIE systems. Future research is needed to further elucidate the effects of actual use of HIE on length of DHRs. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2015.