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Connecting patient data through interoperability helps improve care across Los Angeles area health systems

by Keck Medicine of USC

Published on 9/27/2019

Keck Medicine of USC staff is improving patient care in the Los Angeles, Calif. area through interoperability incorporating the Health Information Exchange (HIE) system services obtained from Cerner to exchange patient data between various health systems’ electronic health records (EHRs).

The HIE enables Keck Medicine health care providers to query and retrieve patient data from more outside sources on incoming patients prior to visits, including a broad network of affiliated health systems. When patients are unable to recall or share their medical history, allergies or medications, HIE technology allows providers to view a more complete medical record and make better treatment decisions. Gil Shlamovitz, MD, FACEP, chief medical informatics officer and emergency physician at Keck Medicine, once used the information network to make a potentially life-saving decision for a patient who presented with blunt trauma to his torso.

“When I checked the HIE for the patient’s allergies before ordering a CT scan with IV contrast, I found that he had a documented anaphylaxis to intravenous contrast at another facility,” Shlamovitz said. “The patient confirmed the contrast allergy that happened more than a decade ago, and I ordered a non-contrast study for evaluation of his injuries.”

Prior to joining the HIE, Keck Medicine ensured that all patients were fully aware how their health information would be shared. Those who were not comfortable being part of the exchange were able to opt out.

“To date, fewer than 5% of our patients have asked to opt out of HIE sharing,” Shlamovitz said. “It has been my experience that most patients expect us to share their data with their other providers; and we chose to share as much information as we can, including laboratory results, diagnostic and operative reports and provider documents.”

In early May 2019, Keck Medicine became even more efficient in ensuring that patients’ data from outside organizations is reviewed and incorporated into the local record. When doctors and staff review medical history with patients, any available data from outside organization is displayed within their workflows and can be incorporated into the record with a single click.

“ED follow-ups are much easier with immediate access to records from outside EDs at the time of visit, rather than requesting records to be reviewed after the visit,” said Katherine Gibson, MD, clinical assistant professor of family medicine at Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Keck Medicine has been working with various neighboring organizations to improve the quality of documents exchanged via HIE to ensure that providers are able to access the information they need.

“Using CommonWell has also allowed us to exchange data across health systems, no matter the EHR, to help us with our end goal of providing exceptional care,” said TJ Malseed, Chief Information Officer of Keck Medicine and Associate Dean of Keck School of Medicine of USC. “We want to share as much data as possible with other organizations to ensure the necessary information is readily available for providers outside of Keck Medicine of USC. It’s the right thing to do for our patients.”

The health system plans to continue its goal of utilizing clinical data exchange, striving to provide the best care possible for patients around the Los Angeles area and beyond.

Client outcomes were achieved in respective settings and are not representative of benefits realized by all clients due to many variables, including solution scope, client capabilities and business and implementation models.