SAN DIEGO, Oct. 30, 2013 – San Diego Regional Health Information Exchange (SDRHIE) has a new name and two new major participants. The federally funded HIE has evolved into an independent, community-supported organization, San Diego Health Connect, which today announced that Scripps Health and Sharp HealthCare have signed agreements to participate in directing the exchange.
By connecting their electronic health record (EHR) systems through the exchange, these healthcare providers are enabling their patients to benefit from coordinated care and follow-up, leading to better care at lower costs.
“Sharing information about a patient at the point of care, with the patient’s consent, informs a physician’s decisions about testing and treatment, and it ultimately improves the quality of care,” said San Diego Health Connect Executive Director Daniel J. Chavez. “Our exchange uses nationally established protocols that adhere to the highest standards for privacy and data security.”
Scripps Health and Sharp HealthCare are the latest major healthcare organizations to sign on with San Diego Health Connect. They join participants including Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center, UC San Diego Health System, Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego, VA San Diego Healthcare System, Family Health Centers of San Diego, and 14 community clinics coordinated through the Council of Community Clinics. The two new additions increase the potential number of patients the HIE can serve from nearly 800,000 to more than 2.1 million.
“The commitments from Scripps and Sharp to collaborate in delivering healthcare services go a long way toward demonstrating that San Diego Health Connect has advanced successfully from a federally-funded, university-based initiative to a self-sustaining, community-funded not-for-profit organization with a greater reach,” Chavez said.
San Diego Health Connect is the successor to 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). Since federal funding ended Sept. 30, the HIE has been operational with support from community healthcare organizations.
Healthcare providers that participate in San Diego Health Connect can access important health information about their patients, no matter where services have been delivered. With a patient’s permission, during a patient visit, a participating provider can use a Web portal to electronically poll other Beacon providers and instantly receive information, including previous test results, treatments, medication and allergy lists, hospital discharge summaries, and history of care. Quick, easy access to such data is critical in emergencies and helpful in other situations when a patient visits providers with multiple health systems.
“I am enthused about the long-awaited availability and growth of a secure, efficient network for exchanging patient health records across the San Diego healthcare community,” said Robin Brown Jr., chief executive of Scripps Green Hospital and president of San Diego Health Connect’s board of directors. “By participating in the San Diego HIE, we at Scripps Health will substantially increase our ability to see the full health picture for patients who visit multiple providers.”
“We look forward to collaborating with other providers to raise the quality of patient information that San Diego healthcare professionals can access, which will enable better care,” said Daniel Gross, RN, DNSc, executive vice president of hospital operations for Sharp HealthCare and a member of the San Diego Healh Connect board. “The HIE allows data to be shared in common formats, overcoming interoperability challenges, and offers an aggregated view of treatment that helps providers make the best decisions when time is of the essence.”
About San Diego Health Connect
San Diego Health Connect is a community-funded, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to improve the health of all San Diegans through healthcare information sharing. The health information exchange (HIE) focuses on these goals:
- Build a community-wide health information exchange for providers and patients in San Diego.
- Reduce hospital readmissions by sharing patient health information across care settings.
- Decrease the time between ambulance arrival and hospital care for heart-attack patients.
- Assure information is available for right-time, right-place care activities.
- Reduce unnecessary repeat radiology and laboratory tests by sharing images and results.
San Diego Health Connect is governed by a board of directors composed of representatives of various types of healthcare providers and designated representatives of specific healthcare organizations.