With COVID-19 applying unprecedented stresses to the healthcare system, swift and easy exchange of needed information is more important than ever. That’s especially true for EMS and its hospital partners. Facilitating it through ImageTrend’s Health Information Hub (HIH) was the subject of a Wednesday session at the company’s ImageTrend Connect virtual 2020 conference.
The HIH permits data exchange among EMS and hospital EMRs, automatically converting and sharing prehospital ePCRs with receiving facilities and providing their patient outcome information back to the EMS team. It can also integrate with primary care, specialists, and other postdischarge providers such as home healthcare and MIH-CP, providing a complete care picture.
ImageTrend’s Michael Patock, vice president of strategic development, overviewed the product and its latest features. He described the concept of the HIH as a converter between the alternating current of EMS systems and the direct current of hospitals: Plugged in between it allows current to flow both ways. While the entities may speak different data languages—e.g., NEMSIS vs. HL7—the interpreter allows them to talk seamlessly and exchange information automatically, without human intervention.
Last year there were nearly three million messages exchanged via the HIH, Patock said, and it’s used by systems in 42 states. It works with multiple popular EHR solutions, including Epic, Cerner, and Allscripts. In a successful case study from 2019, Virginia’s Carilion Clinic and its EMS providers achieved a 93% patient-matching rate using the product with no one touching paper and no change to EMS operations.
A new feature is patient-search integration with ImageTrend Elite. Beyond Elite’s “repeat patients” function, the HIH can now query the Carequality network, a nationwide data-sharing and care-coordination collective that encompasses 600,000 care providers, 50,000 clinics, and more than 2,800 hospitals.
Patock provided an example: Say your patient is unconscious in a crosswalk following a vehicle-vs.-pedestrian accident. You know nothing about them except a name from an out-of-state driver’s license. Scan the DL or enter the name manually, and if you’re lucky, they’re a repeat patient. If not, they may well have an entry in Carequality. If they do, the HIH locates and pulls it into Elite.
Several updates to the HIH are also planned over the next year, Patock said.
He also explained a bit about bringing patient outcome data back into EMS records. After handoff, when the patient’s care course is completed, their admission and discharge information can be funneled back into Elite, letting providers, medical directors, and quality improvement personnel compare EMS and hospital diagnoses. This enables focused quality improvement—a side-by-side protocol-comparison function simplifies reviews—and can also facilitate billing. That data is tailored to NEMSIS outcome fields, and Elite can automatically notify stakeholders when it’s added.