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State EMS Adopts Health Data Exchange Interoperability Tool

The Virginia EMS office has leveraged a health data exchange platform to support interoperability for streamlined care coordination.

The Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services (VAOEMS) has selected health IT vendor ESO to support health data exchange interoperability between all emergency medical service (EMS) agencies and hospitals in the state for streamlined care coordination.

The health IT vendor’s data exchange platform automatically translates data from prehospital electronic patient care report (ePCR) systems to hospital EHR systems for real-time access to patient health data.

Interoperability between ePCR systems and EHR systems will provide ED clinicians with real-time access to patient health information.

This is expected to streamline care coordination by giving ED clinicians a more complete picture of a patient’s condition for point-of-care clinical decision support.

The bi-directional data exchange platform will also provide outcome data to EMS which is expected to accelerate quality improvement programs.  

Adam Harrell, associate director of Virginia office of EMS, noted that the agency is excited to provide the data exchange platform to EMS agencies and hospitals across the state.

“Being able to see patient outcomes across the entire patient journey is a real game changer for us,” Harrell said. “This will allow us to see trends and garner insights across the entire state to ensure we are focused on delivering the best patient care possible.”

VAOEMS also enlisted the health IT vendor to build a statewide EMS data repository and trauma registry to support data analytics for key health trends in the state.

“Virginia continues to lead the charge and set the example for other states when it comes to the use of data and analytics to drive improvements across the entire health and public safety continuum,” said Dr. Brent Myers, Chief Medical Officer for ESO. “Access to patient outcome data for all parties is critical to improving community health and safety – for patients as well as EMS and hospital personnel.”

COVID-19 highlighted gaps in interoperability infrastructure, prompting many healthcare organizations to enhance their data exchange capabilities.

At the height of the first wave of COVID-19, two New York-based EMS providers connected to Rochester RHIO, an on-ramp for Statewide Health Information Network for New York (SHIN-NY), to boost EHR patient data exchange.

Monroe Ambulance and Finger Lakes Ambulance are the first two ambulance services to join the new grant platform with Rochester RHIO.

This connection allows the two EMS providers to push patient data to Rochester RHIO, one of eight qualified entities (QEs) part of SHIN-NY.

Healthcare organizations can add patient health data such as medications, lab test results, care plans, procedures, and other health information to offer providers a more comprehensive view of patient health spanning multiple care settings, facilities, and care teams through RHIO’s service.

Rochester RHIO also connects thousands of providers and healthcare organizations in the area to allow real-time access to patient health data.

Jill Eisenstein, president and CEO of the Rochester RHIO, noted that connecting with EMS providers will boost data exchange to support more patient-centered care.

“EMS is regularly requested for anxiety, falls, first aid, domestic disputes, and other conditions that don’t require transportation to the emergency department,” Eisenstein said in a statement at the time of the announcement. “This information has historically been invisible to physicians, social services organizations and other organizations who could use it to spot patterns and make better decisions.”

“Our collaboration with regional EMS agencies helps to make sure that front line emergency crews can both see patient data and contribute encounter data to the patient record,” she continued. “That can make a huge difference in people’s lives.”

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