3 Medical Providers Launch Rapid Sharing of Patient Data
January 14, 2010
denver and the west
3 medical providers launch rapid sharing of patient data
By Victoria Barbatelli
The Denver Post
Posted: 11/21/2009 01:00:00 AM MST
Updated: 11/21/2009 08:34:38 AM MST
Children's Hospital, Kaiser Permanente Colorado and Exempla Healthcare have begun sharing patient information electronically, which they expect will improve the quality of care they offer.
The electronic health-record-exchange system announced Friday allows doctors using the Epic software platform to access up-to-date information about their patients regardless of provider or referring physician.
The move toward standardized and electronic health records has been part of the Obama administration's push for health reform because it has the potential to save billions of dollars by reducing medical errors and unnecessary testing.
"The principles (of sharing patient information) aren't new," said Joe Heaton, chief medical information officer at Exempla Healthcare. "It's just the technology is making it faster."
Gone are the days of doctors and their staff waiting on the phone to track down patient information. Gone are the days of then waiting hours for that information to be found and forwarded, if it was forwarded at all. Gone are the days of wondering whether that hospital's fax number had been dialed accurately.
"All I've been hearing (about the sharing system) is, 'My God, it's so much better,' " said Dr. Robert Williams, pediatrician and medical director for information technology at Kaiser Permanente.
Allowing providers to share patient information at the click of a mouse helps physicians make educated and accurate medical decisions faster.
At the very least, the types of medical information shared are lab results, operative notes, discharge summaries, allergies and medication history and problem lists, said Mary Anne Leach, vice president and chief information officer at Children's.
Since the pilot program began in June, hundreds of medical records have been shared every day among Kaiser, Exempla and Children's patients, Leach said.
"It's real-time information," Williams said. Doctors are less likely to re-order X-rays for the same condition or ask patients the same series of questions if they have instant records, he said.
"Now you have time to sit down and talk to the patient and do more face-to- face work," Williams said. "You're not excusing yourself from the room all the time to get information or to tell them you'll have to call them back whenever you receive information."
Victoria Barbatelli: 303-954-1698 or firstname.lastname@example.org