California HIE to use $4.9M grant to connect ambulances with hospital patient data

EMS providers often have little to no health information about their patients. A California HIE is working to facilitate data exchange between hospitals and EMS providers. (katifcam/GettyImages)

As first responders, emergency medical service (EMS) providers often have to make quick, life-saving decisions without any patient health information during emergencies.

Using a $4.9 million state grant issued by the Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA), California health information exchange (HIE) Manifest MedEx is leading an initiative to facilitate better data exchange between ambulance service providers and hospitals to ensure first responders have relevant patient data when they are in the field.

Manifest MedEx will work with six local EMS agencies, 13 EMS providers and 16 hospitals across eight countiesRiverside, San Bernardino, Fresno, Tulare, San Joaquin, Merced, Amador, Stanislaus and Calaverasto develop a framework for bidirectional data exchange. EMS services and hospitals in those eight counties serve more than 7.6 million Californians.

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The data exchange framework follows the Office of the National Coordinator’s Search, Alert, File, Reconcile (SAFR) model (PDF). By connecting EMS providers and their emergency department partners through SAFR, Manifest MedEx will enable data-informed emergency care in the field, real-time notification to hospitals of incoming patients and seamless data transfer between electronic patient care records and hospital electronic health records, the organization said.

Starting with a two-year program, the initiative is designed to create capabilities that can be scaled to other California communities in the future.

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“Ambulance service is an incredibly critical point for patient communication,” Erica Galvez, chief strategy officer of Manifest MedEx, said in a statement. “On transport, patients may be unconscious and unable to communicate their serious allergies and medical history details. On arrival to the emergency department, providers need access to details from paramedics to act safely and quickly."

Manifest MedEx facilitates data exchange of 11 million patient claims records and 5 million patient clinical records. More than 400 healthcare organizations in California are currently participants in Manifest MedEx, including recent additions Health Net, Scripps Health and AHMC Healthcare.

The network delivers real-time notifications of hospital admit, discharge and transfer activity as well as up to seven years of searchable medical record history to healthcare organizations at the point of care.

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