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Denver Organizations Link EHRs

January 14, 2010
Advance Dec. 7, 2009: Three Denver Organizations Link EHRs The Children's Hospital, Kaiser Permanente Colorado and Exempla Healthcare are now live with an electronic health record (EHR) "health information exchange" system. It allows patients to show up at any one of the organizations' hospitals and clinics and have their records instantly available to doctors with the click of a button. Being able to see and share this information enhances the quality and continuity of care for patients, as doctors share vital patient medical information through secure, encrypted Internet connections. As a result, health information exchanges such as this one will allow doctors to more efficiently and accurately diagnose patients and recommend treatments. "We no longer have to listen to voice-mail messages or try to decipher unclear faxes," said David Kaplan, MD, chief medical information officer for The Children's Hospital. "Doctors now have instant access to a patient's up-to-date health records, which saves time and reduces errors." The partnership is a pioneering example of three independent health care organizations sharing patient health records electronically, and is a concrete example of how health care reform is taking place in Colorado. All records are up-to-date and changes are logged in real time, helping the quality of patient care, no matter where and by whom they are seen. Less than two percent of health care facilities nationally are using fully electronic health records, and only a handful are exchanging health information in this integrated manner -- highlighting the uniqueness of the relationship between the three providers. "The Obama administration has made it very clear that improving the nation's health care system hinges partly on modernizing our industry with electronic health records, and then encouraging these systems to become more connected," said Robert Miller, MD, of Kaiser Permanente. "As a pediatrician, I've seen the benefits of health-IT exchange first-hand. With quicker access to more information, I can now diagnose, treat and care for the children in my practice with even greater confidence and improved results." The three providers are in the process of an extended pilot program to test the system, and officially went online with the CareEverywhere EHR software system this summer. Access to patient records are secure and require authorization.