Connecting EMS, hospitals requires careful collaboration

Lack of interoperability with emergency department and hospital systems and lack of federal funds continue to be obstacles for effective data-sharing between emergency crews and hospitals, according to an iHealthBeat article.

A collaboration between the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Emergency Care Coordination Center aims to give first responders a more accurate picture of a patient's medical history during emergencies.

Among the suggestions for additional improvements in the iHealthBeat article:

  • Use the NEMSIS Version 3 HL7 data standards to enable interoperable exchange between EMS providers and hospitals.
  • Use the ONC's direct messaging protocol along with the NEMSIS Version 3 clinical data architecture (CDA) data standard.
  • Connect the two through exiting regional or statewide health information exchanges.

A recent ONC report based on input from stakeholders from California and along the Gulf Coast found potential benefits from using HIEs as intermediaries and for potentially setting up patient information portals during disasters. It found EMS agencies particularly interested in working with HIEs to improve their response.

Expanding paramedics' role to help connect patients with more appropriate sources of care besides going to the emergency room--something North Memorial Health System in Minnesota has done, focusing on ER "frequent fliers," as FierceHealthIT previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the article