Improving Care By Including EMS in Health Information Exchange

HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology releases a report on incorporating EMS in Health Information Exchange and awards “Fabulous Partner” award to Office of EMS staff for their support

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A new report from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) reveals that improving data sharing between EMS and other healthcare providers already has several benefits.

Included in the "Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Data Integration to Optimize Patient Care" report is the “SAFR model,” developed to help provide a framework for EMS health information exchange:

  • Search: Allow EMS providers in the field to search for hospital and other records that will help them make treatment and transport decisions
  • Alert: Notify hospitals of incoming EMS patients with automated systems that populate emergency department dashboards with information entered by EMS in the field
  • File: Incorporate the data in EMS electronic patient care reports directly into patient’s longitudinal health records
  • Reconcile: Provide feedback on outcomes and other hospital data to EMS agencies for billing and quality improvement

The report also includes profiles of five regions currently involving EMS in HIE projects.

ONC Recognizes NHTSA OEMS staff

Including EMS in health information exchange (HIE) efforts is critical for improving patient outcomes and advancing the profession in an integrated, data-driven healthcare system. Two members of the NHTSA Office of EMS staff, Noah Smith and Susan McHenry, were recognized recently for their dedication to EMS and HIE when they were presented the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) Fabulous Partner Award.

Over the past few years, Mr. Smith and Ms. McHenry have worked closely with the ONC to ensure that EMS is a part of the care continuum and included in discussions and planning related to HIE. Such work includes actively participating in a HIE/EMS Workgroup, coordinating efforts on data exchange, standardizing EMS data and providing educational opportunities and resources on EMS and HIE to the industry.

Office of EMS and ONC staff also recently hosted a webinar addressing ways that states and local agencies can use Medicaid funding to support health information exchange efforts in EMS. As a result of this continued collaboration, many state and regional HIE organizations are now recognizing EMS as a potential data exchange partner.

“Susan and Noah, along with our partners at ONC, have demonstrated the importance and power of collaboration between offices whose missions might differ, but whose goals do not: improving lives by improving care,” said Jon Krohmer, MD, Director of the NHTSA Office of EMS. “We at NHTSA look forward to continuing to work closely with the ONC and our other federal and state partners to support EMS providers across the country.”

McHenry was also recently recognized by the National Association of State EMS Officials with a resolution honoring her achievements in over four decades of EMS leadership noting that her “well-deserved reputation for lifelong excellence in leadership, collaboration, and concern for those EMS touches serves as an inspiration to us all.”