- Six Bay Area hospitals have joined together to improve health data interoperability in emergency departments in an effort to boost care coordination and patient-centered care.
According to a press release, the hospitals, spear-headed by Sutter Health and Alameda Health System, will target frequent ED users and those who visit one or more of the six EDs, making their health data more accessible in disparate locations.
By using a health data exchange technology, PreManage ED system, providers will be notified when a patient visits one of the six emergency departments in the consortium. This will prompt other providers to transmit the patient’s health data in order to better coordinate healthcare.
Also included on the technology is a coordinated care plan for each patient and a portable EHR, which will help enable interoperability between each of the six member hospitals.
According to the press release, nearly 40 percent of all ED visits in California are non-urgent and able to be treated in primary care settings. This new technology aims to reduce that statistic by helping to administer quality and coordinated care to high-use patients.
“This historic partnership for care coordination within emergency services furthers our vision to promote wellness, eliminate disparities and optimize the health of our diverse communities,” said Delvecchio Finley, Alameda Health System’s CEO.
“While too many barriers to optimal care remain in our communities, the initial gains through this initiative serve as evidence for the benefits to patient-centered care made possible by collaboration.”
Those hospitals adopting the interoperable technology include Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Sutter Delta Medical Center, Eden Medical Center, Highland Hospital, and San Leandro Hospital.
Several of these hospitals have been working with the new interoperable technology for a few months. After implementing the tool in March, Alta Bates Summit has registered over 16,000 patients into the system, many of whom were frequent ED visitors.
Further, nearly 2,000 of those patients had also visited Highland Hospital’s ED. Because both hospitals were connected to an interoperable health technology, providers were able to deliver high-quality, evidence-based care based off of patient’s health records.
According to leaders at Highland Hospital, patients are already seeing the perks of health data interoperability.
“Patients are already experiencing the benefits of a coordinated approach to care,” said David English, MD, a Highland Hospital ED physician. “Continuity of care is critical to long-term wellness and chronic disease management. PreManage ED is a win-win - patients benefit from a more cohesive experience and providers can improve care based on shared knowledge which contributes to better outcomes.”
Other hospitals and health information exchanges (HIEs) have taken similar measures to ensure quality healthcare at various different hospitals.
Earlier this month, three members of the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC) announced a patient-centered data home.
The PCDH would function like email, sending an alert to PCDH members when a patient visits a hospital outside of her data “home.” Other providers would then be prompted to send that patient’s health data to presently treating physician to enable higher quality, patient-centered care.
“The concept is focused on providers having access to real-time data wherever a patient may present for care by providing information across state lines and disparate health care systems,” said Dick Thompson, Executive Director and CEO for QHN.
“HIEs share common borders and common patients, and we are able to share information on these patients when they are away from their home zip code, bridging gaps in information and enabling more comprehensive patient records.”
As the healthcare industry more heavily emphasizes the importance of patient-centered healthcare and overall wellness, it will be important for hospitals to adopt interoperable health technologies and better exchange health data.
Through HIEs and other health data interoperability projects, physicians will ideally be able to deliver higher quality care centered on the patient.