Health Information Exchange
Connecting EMS to the broader health care system through health information exchange.
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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines Health Information Exchange (HIE) as "electronic movement of health-related information among organizations according to nationally recognized standards." The goal of HIE programs is to facilitate secure access to clinical data to provide safe, efficient, effective, equitable, patient-centered care. Health information exchange relies on a bi-directional flow of data covering all aspects of the patient care continuum including dispatch, field care, transport, emergency department, hospital admission, hospital discharge, and practitioner care.
EMS is an integral part of the health care system - actions taken by EMS providers at the scene and enroute to the hospital affect outcomes, quality of care and patient satisfaction. HIE allows providers in the field to appropriately access and securely share a patient’s vital medical information electronically.
Currently, few EMS systems are connected to a health information exchange or other electronic health/medical records system. There are many challenges to sharing of EMS data, including funding, proprietary systems, and a lack of collaboration. EMSA is working to overcome those challenges and support providers, health information organizations, vendors, and local EMS agencies in creating the infrastructure necessary for secure two-way exchange between EMS and other health care providers, facilities and payers.
It’s our expectation that EMS will become a full participant in the electronic exchange of health information in the near term with the capability to:
- Search a patient's health record for problems, medications, allergies, and end of life decisions to enhance clinical decision making in the field
- Alert the receiving hospital about the patient's status directly onto a dashboard in the emergency department to provide decision support
- File the emergency medical services patient care report data directly into the patient's electronic health record for a better longitudinal patient record
- Reconcile the electronic health record information including diagnoses and disposition back into the EMS patient care report for use in improving the EMS system
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