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by Sean Turner
Published on July 3, 2018

Electronic health information exchanges (HIEs) allow doctors, nurses, pharmacists, other health care providers and patients to appropriately access and securely share a patient’s vital medical information electronically—improving the speed, quality, safety and cost of patient care. HIEs empower the appropriate, timely sharing of vital patient information between organizations, which can better inform decision making at the point of care. There’s even more potential for HIEs to impact outcomes when it comes to disaster preparedness, as they have the potential to provide timely access to clinical information in response to a disaster.

In 2017, Dignity Health, a California-based not-for-profit organization operating hospitals and care facilities in three states, decided to connect all the eHealth exchange partners enrolled through their HIE to CA Pulse, an emergency management service that provides information to first responders and hospitals. In this episode of The Cerner Podcast, we're joined by Sean Turner, the senior director for interoperability and population health IT at Dignity Health. He discusses this project and how health care organizations can leverage HIEs for disaster preparedness.

Sean answers the following questions:  

  • Discuss the role that HIEs have currently in data exchange, and how they are situated to help with disaster preparedness. 
  • What were the circumstances surrounding the decision to link your HIE to CA Pulse, and can you discuss how that collaboration came together? 
  • It sounds like your collaboration with CA Pulse was a success – but such a project might not come together as smoothly for other organizations. Can you discuss any legal, technical or governance issues that could be barriers to using the HIE as a disaster preparedness tool? 
  • In your view, what are some of the recommendations that any health care organization planning to share electronic health information during a disaster should follow?
  • Broadly, can you tell us how you see usage of HIEs evolving in the health care industry over the next 3-5 years? 

Listen to the full podcast below, or click here to view all episodes of The Cerner Podcast!

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