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Intermountain Partnership Automates EHR Data for Organ Donor Referrals

The new tool will use time-sensitive EHR data to automate organ donor referrals, enhancing coordination between hospitals and organ procurement organizations (OPOs).

Intermountain Healthcare, DonorConnect, and InVita Healthcare Technologies have partnered to launch iReferral, an interoperability-based tool that automates EHR data for the organ donor referral process.

The need for timely donation is significant across the country. According to  HRSA, a person is added to the US transplant waiting list every nine minutes. Not everyone on the waiting list survives in time for a donation; 17 people die each day waiting for an organ transplant.

The EHR automation technology aims to expedite potential organ, tissue, and eye donor referrals to boost recipient matches and promote timely organ donation. In addition, Intermountain and partner vendors hope to promote timely donation, enhance care coordination, and improve clinician workflow by reducing the time spent on the donor referral process.

“Streamlining the donor referral process for the Intermountain teams gives our caregivers critical time back to spend more time with patients,” Diane Alonso, MD, transplant surgeon and medical director of the abdominal transplant program at Intermountain Healthcare, said in the press release. "Collaborating and improving our workflow will also result in more donors, especially for those waiting for a critical life-saving donor organ."

As required by CMS guidelines, hospitals must provide timely notifications to designated organ-procurement organizations (OPOs) of every potential organ, tissue, and eye donor. 

Currently, healthcare systems still use a time-consuming phone-based referral process to relay information to the OPO manually.

iReferral uses targeted algorithmic clinical triggers and secure interoperability to eliminate the need for phone-based processes, the press release stated.

The tool delivers real-time donor identification and referral data from the EHR system to the OPO donation management system.

"DonorConnect is excited to embrace any tool that helps streamline the organ recovery and transplant process, and ensure positive outcomes for transplant recipients," Tracy Schmidt, executive director and president of DonorConnect, said. "We've been eager to implement referral and experience the improved efficiencies that the system will deliver."

So far, iReferral has been implemented at Intermountain Medical Center, its critical care units, and McKay-Dee Hospital. Later this year, the health system plans to deploy the tool at additional facilities.

This recent effort reflects a similar move by Cerner late last year.

In 2021, EHR vendor Cerner partnered with health IT company Transplant Connect on an EHR integration in an effort to promote timely organ donation. 

The technology automates this process by delivering real-time donor identification and referral data from Cerner Millennium EHR to the iTransplant Donor Management Platform.

"This integration is a prime example of how health systems can talk to one another, which helps eliminate manual bottlenecks that drain time and resources," Sam Lambson, vice president of interoperability at Cerner, said in a press release. 

"Our goal is to provide resources that not only help doctors and nurses deliver more efficient, better care but improve the lives of their patients. Simplifying the transplant process helps everyone at every stage,” Lambson continued. 

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