A new study suggests that hospitals might better serve frequent emergency room patients if they share data with one another.

jama internal medicineAccording to a new report in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, nearly 70 percent of “high-fliers” – patients known to make repeated visits to hospital ERs – visited more than one hospital ER in a study of patients who had more than five ER visits in Maryland in 2014. As a result, individual hospitals may not have a complete picture of such patients’ medical issues and the frequency with which they are turning to hospitals for care – a problem that could detract from individual hospitals’ attempts to find better ways to serve such patients.

A possible solution, the study suggests, is better information-sharing among hospitals.

Private safety-net hospitals serve more such patients than the typical hospital because their communities have more low-income and uninsured residents with limited access to medical care.

To learn more about the study and its implications for efforts to reduce overuse of hospital ERs, go here to find the JAMA Internal Medicine study “The Adequacy of Individual Hospital Data to Identify High Utilizers and Assess Community Health.”