- Premier Health Atrium Medical Center is launching a new health data exchange program centered on enabling emergency medical services (EMS) personnel and first responders to enter and share patient health data through EHR technology while transporting patients to the hospital.
The medical center is currently piloting an information sharing program that allows first responders across Ohio to enter data directly into patient EHRs while in transit to receiving care facilities, according to WCPO Cincinnati.
First responders and EMS personnel can use the information sharing program to input information about patients’ vital signs, EKG results, administered treatment, medications, and other information into patient EHRs in real-time.
“Our EMS crews and all of our first responders ... the care they deliver pre-hospital is essential,” Premier Health Atrium Medical Director Jill Aston told WCPO Cincinnati.
Updating emergency department (ED) medical staff on all tests EMS personnel and first responders have completed prior to a patient’s arrival can help to significantly streamline transitions of care.
“What we do is create a download, upload it to the cloud and it gets electronically transferred and attached to the patient care report,” Middletown FD EMS captain Steve Ludwig told WCPO reporters.
Informing receiving physicians of a patient’s condition as they arrive to the hospital can help providers make appropriate clinical decisions as soon as patients enter the facility for more accurate, timely patient care.
“I think anything that improves communication in a patient's medical care is a wonderful thing and will just improve medical decision making, will create a better picture of the patient’s presentation and what is happening with them, and allow for better care,” said Aston.
Premier Health is the first health system in the area to launch the new interface and health data exchange program. Several agencies throughout the nine-county area spanning from Middletown to Tipp City, Ohio will also implement the program during the six-month pilot.
Enabling EMS personnel to access and view health outcomes for patients they took to the hospital will also help to improve care delivery during patient transport.
The Premier Health Atrium Medical Center network includes hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, health centers, specialty care facilities, emergency centers, and inpatient rehabilitation facilities throughout southwest Ohio.
Other EMS initiatives across the country have also taken steps to allow EMS personnel to engage in EHR use during patient transport.
In 2018, the North Dakota Department of Health (NDHS) Division of Emergency Medical Systems developed a data repository designed to collect and analyze EMS patient care reports. The initiative allows providers to enter and review key patient health data to improve patient injury prevention, performance improvement, and patient health outcomes.
North Dakota implemented ESO’s web-based EHR system to aggregate and analyze data from state agencies and report EHR data to the National EMS Information System (NEMSIS).
EMS personnel and state agency employees received training on the system to ensure a smooth implementation process. Giving EMS personnel access to patient EHR data at the point of care helps to improve patient care delivery during critical transitions of care to reduce rates of patient mortality and disability.
The NDHS Division of Emergency Medical Systems chose ESO after issuing a request for proposal (RFP) soliciting applications for an EMS-specific EHR system offering.
North Dakota joins California, Colorado, Indiana, Oklahoma, New York, and other states by taking steps to improve EHR use and health data access for EMS organizations to bolster prehospital patient care. Well-informed prehospital care delivery can help to ensure safe patient transport to the appropriate healthcare facilities.