From Our Team
Improving Patient Care through Data Sharing
Posted on May 1, 2019 by Guest Author
My daughter is not even two years old yet, but she already has medical records across El Paso. She was born at The Hospitals of Providence, has seen a specialist at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, has been to the emergency room at El Paso Children’s Hospital for a high fever, and has had labs done at a University Medical Center clinic. She is very young and healthy, but you can imagine how complicated it can get for those who are older and require more medical care. Providers need this vital information from across different organizations, particularly in emergency situations, but it has traditionally been burdensome to track down.
Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) were developed to make sharing health records easier. HIEs centralize health information from across different hospitals and providers to create an electronic community health record for each patient. This community health record enables physicians to see the full picture of a patient’s health from across the community in one place when they need it, including diagnoses, labs, imaging reports, vital signs, and medications.
Having the right information is particularly important during emergencies. For example, one El Paso physician uses our local HIE when patients arrive in cardiac arrest or trauma. He once had a woman arrive at an El Paso hospital who was having a heart attack and could not speak to her care history. The physician searched for her community health record in the El Paso HIE and found information on her cardiac conditions and medications from other health organizations. With this additional information, the physician was able to provide more effective care.
Our local HIE is called PHIX. We are a nonprofit organization partnering with many health care providers and leaders in the region, including The Hospitals of Providence, University Medical Center of El Paso, El Paso Children’s Hospital, Veteran’s Administration, Department of Defense (including William Beaumont), Emergence Health Network, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, City of El Paso Department of Public Health, El Paso County Medical Society, Paso del Norte Health Foundation, El Paso Health, Project Vida, Centro San Vicente, and Centro De Salud Familiar La Fe.
We are particularly proud that our connections with the Veteran’s Administration and Department of Defense help Veterans and military families. PHIX enables community providers to share information back and forth with VA and military providers. Otherwise, Veterans would have to go-in to physically get their records and handle releases for the information. The El Paso VA is proud to have one of the highest rates of Veteran participation in the nation for health information exchanges.
Additionally, our connections with the VA and military are national. Therefore, if a military family moves to El Paso, their records from previous bases are available to community providers. For example, an active duty soldier and his family recently moved to Texas from the east coast. When his child visited a pediatric specialist in the El Paso community, the physician thought that she would have to repeat all of their labs because it would take too long to get copies of the lab results. When she told the family, they begged her not to repeat the labs. PHIX happened to train the physician that afternoon, and she was able to review the child’s full care record from the east coast. As a result, the child avoided repeating the labs.
We are committed to continuing to expand our network, and we have developed a local technology team to help. We invite physician practices and other health providers in our region to join us to improve the efficiency, quality, and safety of patient care. As our network grows, we are also offering reduced membership rates to support our mission.
Our team would be happy to discuss our local HIE anytime. Please call our office at 915-242-0674 or email me at email@example.com.
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