An emergency physician-led workgroup has published several recommendations about how to maximize the value of health information exchange (HIE) in emergency departments.
The recommendations were published online last week in Annals of Emergency Medicine ("Health Information Exchange in Emergency Medicine"). The workgroup, from the American College of Emergency Physicians, the national medical society representing emergency medicine, made five primary recommendations, and seven secondary ones, in support of HIE in emergency medicine. The five primary ones include:
1. Emergency physicians must be involved in regional and federal HIE activities;
2. HIE policies must be based on best practices to promote liability protection related to HIE use;
3. Federal regulatory standards must prioritize data elements specific to emergency care and have emergency-specific user design;
4. Care standards and protocols for effective integration of HIE in emergency department electronic health records (EHRs) should be developed, including workflow optimizations and pushing of important HIE information to the clinician through flags in the EHR; and
5. Local professional groups should participate with HIEs to assure delivery of appropriate emergency data.
The workgroup also published seven secondary recommendations which would significantly improve HIE for emergency physicians, though they are not focused specifically on emergency medicine.
"Significant changes are needed to support a system of effective national HIE that can rapidly and efficiently yield useful health information to health care providers in emergency departments," said co-author Jason Shapiro, M.D., of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, N.Y. "These changes should include support for emergency physician access to all relevant patient information in properly summarized understandable form. The goal of all emergency physicians is to provide safe, efficient and effective emergency care, and more access to well organized patient information helps us achieve that goal."