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CORHIO Aims to Reduce ER Visits Through HIE

March 14, 2014
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The Colorado Regional Health Information Organization (CORHIO) has opened its health information exchange (HIE) to True North Health Navigation—a mobile emergency medical unit—to allow access to vital patient information through the HIE.

 While en route to non-life-threatening 911 calls, True North Health Navigation practitioners have access to complete patient medical histories, including recent treatments and medications. This allows practitioners to diagnose and treat patients with greater accuracy and safety while eliminating the cost of unnecessary trips to the emergency room, according to officials.

The National Fire Protection Association estimates that about 20 percent of calls are non-life-threatening, such as allergic reactions and migraines. In an effort to ease overwhelmed emergency rooms and to lower healthcare costs, True North Health Navigation is responding to non-life-threatening 911 calls with a staff of emergency medicine trained practitioners and a special truck equipped with a variety of medical supplies, medications and a certified lab that can process blood and urine tests on scene. The mobile medical unit is capable of providing a variety of advanced medical treatments, including suturing, splinting and catheter replacement.

Further, the True North Health Navigation medical team can view patient health information on iPads set up to securely access CORHIO’s web-based PatientCare 360 application, which helps them gain insights into patients’ medical histories and head off potential medication interactions. For example, if an elderly patient was recently released from the hospital and calls 911 with low blood pressure or a rapid heartbeat, a True North Health Navigation practitioner could look up that patient’s history in the CORHIO HIE and quickly determine if medications should be adjusted or changed.

CORHIO’s secure HIE network links the medical records systems of hospitals, doctors and other healthcare providers throughout Colorado and enables providers to exchange vital patient information, including lab test and pathology results, X-ray, MRI and other imaging reports, as well as physician transcription reports.

“We are taking the capabilities of the emergency room and moving them into the field,” True North Health Navigation co-founder and CEO Mark Prather, M.D., said in a news release. “Essentially we’ve reinvented the house call, so that we can properly treat urgent and semi-emergent medical conditions right in a patient’s own home.”

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