(HealthDay News) — Between 2008 and 2012, hospitals significantly increased their exchange of electronic health information with other providers, according to research published in the August issue of Health Affairs.

Michael F. Furukawa, Ph.D., of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C., and colleagues analyzed data from national surveys of hospitals for 2008 to 2012 to evaluate hospital exchanges of electronic health information with other providers.

The researchers found that, between 2008 and 2012, hospital exchange of electronic health information with other providers increased significantly regardless of type of information, type of provider, or organizational affiliation. In 2012, almost six in 10 hospitals exchanged electronic health information with outside providers and hospitals, representing a 41% increase since 2008.

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Adoption of electronic health records and participation in health information organizations were linked with significantly greater hospital exchange activity. Information sharing with providers outside the organization and exchange of clinical care summaries and medication lists occurred less frequently.

“New and ongoing policy initiatives and payment reforms may accelerate the electronic exchange of health information by creating new data exchange options, defining standards for interoperability, and creating payment incentives for information sharing across organizational boundaries,” the authors write.