CCDs help UPMC coordinate care across various settings

The continuity of care document (CCD), a standardized care summary designed for information exchange among different kinds of electronic medical records, has not been widely used up until now. But the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is relying on CCDs to coordinate care as patients move through the system--which will help the hospital and its physicians in meeting requirements for Stages 2 and 3 of meaningful use.

When primary-care physicians in the community refer patients to specialists employed by UPMC, they're encouraged to send CCDs from their EMRs. When the consultants send the patients back, they transmit CCDs to update the doctors on what has happened with the patient. And as patients move from one care setting to another--whether it be the oncology department, the transplant program, or the emergency department--their CCDs go with them online.

UPMC uses an interoperability platform from dbMotion to move the CCDs. The platform also links the hospital system with a state immunization registry, and positions UPMC to interface with the statewide health information exchange and with local HIEs when they're operational.

One challenge in exchanging CCDs is that different information systems use different medical vocabularies. Semantic mapping has helped dbMotion to address that issue, but UPMC eventually will transition to a national standard vocabulary, once that becomes available. 

Initial clinician reaction to UPMC's unified patient record has been favorable. In November, 15,000 unique patient charts were opened, mainly at transitions of care. 

To learn more:
- see the story in Healthcare IT News

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