Winston-Salem, N.C., November 13, 2014 On October 19, 2014, Novant Health became the first healthcare system in North Carolina to join the federal-level Health Information Exchange (HIE), eHealth Exchange managed by HealtheWay. Patient care coordination is simplified through the HIE by enabling providers across the country secure and instant access to Novant Health patient records.
After the successful implementation of the Epic electronic health record (EHR) system across more than 400 physician clinics and eight hospitals, Novant Health patients are already seeing the benefit. Since January 1, 2014, Novant Health has shared more than 148,000 patient records with other health systems via the Epic HIE—a powerful and well established HIE. This year alone, over 38 million patient records have been shared, both between Epic systems and non-Epic systems. Through the federal-level eHealth Exchange, Novant Health’s capability to share patient records expands even more.
“No matter where they receive care in our system, from urgent care to the OR, our clinicians have the patient’s most up-to-date medical history at their fingertips,” said Dave Garrett, Novant Health senior vice president and chief information officer. “Not only does this help us coordinate care but it’s helping us keep our patients safe.”
According to a September 2014 brief from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, physicians using EHRs that met Meaningful Use criterion were significantly more likely to report safety improvements associated with EHRs than physicians who have not transitioned. Three times as many physicians reported that their EHR prevented a potential medication error than caused one. They also received preventive care reminders, chronic condition clinical care guidelines, facilitated referrals and engaged in physician-to-physician communication.
Over the last two weeks alone, the Novant Health system has received dramatic numbers of shared records from major pharmacy chains. Over 1,000 records containing important immunization information have been shared with Novant Health, which has not only improved the overall accuracy of healthcare data, but most importantly, it has allowed each patient’s electronic health record to remain as up-to-date as possible.
“We’ve seen positive changes for our patients since implementing our EHR,” said Garrett. “The eHealth Exchange will only broaden those successes.”
Through the eHealth Exchange, providers will be able to use the data available to them to quickly find and notify patients who may be at risk for problems related to unsafe drugs or recalled medical devices, identify epidemics nationwide and allow researchers to analyze treatment and outcome data to identify best practices. Additionally, information can be shared with providers across the country when a patient seeks care outside the Novant Health system.
“Novant Health is leading the charge into population health management and making care more comprehensive and seamless for patients,” said Amy Vance, senior vice president of population health at Novant Health. “The more information we can share across the country, the better we can take care of our patients. This is coordinated care at a higher level.”