By Dan Porreca
While most of your health care is local, there may be times when you or a loved one needs care away from home. A recent survey by the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative illustrates the growth of health information exchanges nationally and the value that is being delivered both to the health care community and to patients, including when that information is shared across state lines.
According to the survey, 92% of the U.S. population is served by collaborative-member HIEs, which includes HEALTHeLINK, Western New York’s HIE, and together they are delivering more than 1 billion clinical alerts nationally.
These real-time notifications of hospital admissions, discharges or transfers are delivered to doctors, hospitals and other health care organizations, triggering follow-up care and care coordination that reduce hospital readmission and improve patient outcomes.
An important component of these alert notifications is the Patient Centered Data Home model, which enables near-real-time alerting about important clinical events connecting more than 200 million patients nationwide.
This initiative puts into practice the vision that clinical data should be available whenever and wherever care occurs and centered on the patient to improve patient care.
Here locally, HEALTHeLINK has been connecting with other HIEs across New York State through the Statewide Health Information Network for New York. With this connection, participating providers have been able to securely access medical information on their consented patients who may have been seen elsewhere in the state.
Having recently gone live with the PDCH national network, HEALTHeLINK is now able to send alerts to Western New York providers who may have patients being treated outside of the state. This notification enables providers to initiate additional data exchanges to access real-time information on their patients from other participating HIEs across the country.
Once the patient returns home, the treating providers have a more complete medical picture of the care they received while away, resulting in more timely follow up care and a reduction in duplicate testing.
HIEs are taking the important next steps to enable one’s medical information to follow them, whenever and wherever they may receive care. When your treating providers have your most current medical information it can lead to a number of efficiencies and improvements, such as decreased errors, improved services and quality and reduced duplicate tests – all things that contribute to an overall better health care system.
Dan Porreca is executive director of HEALTHeLINK and serves as chair of the SHIEC board of directors.