San Diego resident Sue Diaz wishes the electronic exchange of information vital to a patient’s care had been in place several months ago. She tells the story of rushing a friend suddenly stricken by an apparent seizure to a nearby hospital. When they arrived, the woman was semi-conscious, partially paralyzed and unable to speak. Her husband had gone fishing that morning and couldn’t be reached.
“Is she taking any medication?” a neurologist who’d been called to the ER asked. “I need to know! The wrong mix of drugs here could leave your friend in a vegetative state.”
Diaz had no idea. No one in the room did.
With the participation of Scripps Health and Sharp Healthcare in San Diego Health Connect (SDHC), the area’s health information exchange, more than 2.7 million County of San Diego residents can rest assured doctors will be able to quickly access the data they need to make the best decisions possible. Patients in the Sharp and Scripps health care systems have been notified by letter of this new development in the service of better coordinated care. Both providers will be fully on board with SDHC beginning in the summer.
The exchange allows participating hospitals and medical offices throughout San Diego County to share electronic health information with complete security, enabling doctors to have instant access to things like previous laboratory and imaging results, known drug reactions, allergies, hospital discharge summaries, and history of care.
“The real-time exchange of medical information between San Diego providers will ensure patients receive timely and cost-efficient care,” says Mike Murphy, Sharp HealthCare CEO. “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 health care 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,” says 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. 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.
As a member of national and statewide direct trust networks, SDHC complies with all requirements for secure data exchange, including those mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
About San Diego Health Connect
San Diego Health Connect (SDHC) is the health information utility that integrates the San Diego health care ecosystem. Importantly, SDHC securely connects hospitals, providers, patients, payers, private health information exchanges (HIEs) and other entities to improve the quality and cost of healthcare in the San Diego community. As a community funded not-for-profit organization, SDHC exists to serve every member of the community – and to make San Diego an even better place to live.
Participating members include: Council of Community Clinics, County of San Diego, Kaiser, U.S. Navy, Rady Children’s Hospital, Scripps Health, Sharp Healthcare, VA Medical Center, Palomar Health, Pioneers Memorial Hospital, El Centro Regional Medical Center and UCSD.