The San Diego-based Scripps Health and Sharp Healthcare are beginning full participation in the San Diego Health Connect, a regional health information exchange (HIE) that now facilitates the data exchange of more than 2.7 million San Diego County residents.
In October of 2013, both of these provider organizations originally announced they were participating in San Diego Health Connect, but according to reports, integration and consent issues kept them from fully being on board until this summer.
In 2013, San Diego Health Connect officially evolved from the San Diego Beacon, the largest of the 17 Beacon Community projects that received a total of $250 million in three-year grants from the Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). Funding for that project ended on Sept. 30. The regional health information exchange was one of the initial projects of that Beacon community.
“The real-time exchange of medical information between San Diego providers will ensure patients receive timely and cost-efficient care,” Mike Murphy, Sharp HealthCare CEO, said in a news release statement. “Lives will undoubtedly be saved as result of sharing critical patient care information in a secure and confidential manner."
Through the program, information is shared with healthcare professionals at the point of care and only by authorized requests and with patient permission. Patients served by Scripps Health and Sharp HealthCare can opt-out at any time. “Using San Diego Health Connect offers real advantages for everyone involved,” said Scripps Health president and CEO Chris Van Gorder. “It not only facilitates better care, in many cases it also eliminates the likelihood of tests and procedures being repeated unnecessarily.”
San Diego Health Connect acts not as a keeper of information, but rather as a conduit, its officials say. Requests from providers are sent to a data hub, where pertinent information is assembled and routed for real-time electronic delivery. More than 200,000 messages are safely exchanged through the system every day among the San Diego hospitals and community clinics currently in the system, the organization says.