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San Diego Area Healthcare to Launch HIE

November 17, 2011
by root
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As part of a federal initiative designed to improve medical care through health information technology (health IT), several San Diego health care providers announced that they are ready to launch a health information exchange (HIE) that will link area hospitals, clinics, ambulances, and other health care facilities electronically to improve communication and allow for the exchange of vital patient information.

The San Diego Beacon Community (SDBC) was one of 17 communities nationwide chosen by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to demonstrate how information technology could measurably improve the health of a region. SDBC was awarded a three-year, $15.3M grant to target four specific areas: improve care for emergency cardiac patients, reduce hospital readmission, reduce unnecessary CT scans and improve rates and reporting of childhood immunizations.

A major component of the project will be building a community health information exchange that will link health care providers electronically. Once connected, authorized physicians will be able to request and access a complete and up-to-date medical record from other participating physicians who have also seen the patient for clinical care.

Transmitted medical information will include recent diagnoses, medications, allergies, lab test results, radiology results and discharge summaries. With access to better patient information, physicians will be able to provide higher quality care, reduce unnecessary repeat tests and procedures, and lower the risk of potential medical errors.

SDBC selected OptumInsight (formerly Axolotl) to build San Diego's health information exchange. Patients will be fully in control of their medical information by providing one of three consent options: emergency (only allow access in the event of an emergency), full (access information for all health care encounters), or none (do not allow access). Patients will be able to provide consent at their doctor's office and can change their consent status at any time.

The health information exchange will launch in early December at selected sites of participating organizations including Children's Primary Care Medical Group, Rady Children's Hospital, UC San Diego Health System, Sharp Community Medical Group, and VA San Diego Healthcare System. The health information exchange will be implemented within other sites throughout the San Diego health care community over the next 14 months.

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