Jeff Rowe, Editor, Future Care

Jeff Rowe is the editor of Future Care and a veteran healthcare journalist and blogger who has reported extensively on initiatives to improve the healthcare system at the local, regional and national level.

Improved data exchange paves way to better emergency care

February 9, 2017 AT 9:19 PM

While effective health information exchange is a goal all health systems are pursuing in one way or another, perhaps nowhere is that goal more important than in exchanges between emergency medical responders and the emergency departments to which they’re transporting patients.

As an article in Health Data Management describes much of the current situation, “too often, information between an ambulance and the hospital is exchanged verbally, or if data is being transmitted, it is done in only one direction—EMS personnel are sending patient data to the hospital, with nothing being transmitted back to them.”

That communication may help the ED, the article notes, but if, by chance, the hospital has historical data on the patient in its EHR system, that information could help the emergency responders. 

One system, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Fla., has implemented a software system that enables two-way data exchange, and at HIMSS17 in Orlando, Peter Antevy, MD, medical director at Davie Fire Rescue and a pediatric emergency department physician at Joe DiMaggio, will team up with Allen Johnson, vice president of health data exchange and analytics at ESO Solutions, the software developer, to describe the myriad benefits of their new system. 

Also presenting will be Jeff Jarvis, MD, medical director at Williamson County EMS in Georgetown, Texas, who cites as an example of the potential benefits of two-way communication the fact that “many patients believed to be suffering from a heart attack are not actually having one, but the cath lab is being activated at the hospital for the arriving patient. If the eventual diagnosis is not a heart attack, then the scramble alert in the cath lab was really a waste of resources.”

With emergency responders and the hospital sharing data where the patient is initially being treated and then while enroute, access to enough data can help determine more accurately the type of treatment required once the patient arrives at the hospital.

Session 189: Driving Improvement by Bridging EMS and Hospital Data, is scheduled at 1 p.m. on February 22 in Room W304A.