Rationale / Objectives
Many of the health care providers who treat a single patient do not have access to all the health information that they need to give the patient the best care possible. The Arkansas State Health Alliance for Records Exchange (SHARE) is a statewide health information exchange (HIE) that helps to solve the problem of providing health information to care providers. SHARE allows primary health care providers, related health services professionals, and public health authorities to access and exchange information with each other in real-time while respecting required privacy and security laws.
Project/Program Description & Major Achievements
The program has three key system components. The first is secure messaging which allows health care providers to send secure, encrypted emails to each other within the SHARE system containing information about a patient’s recent treatment. This replaces the traditional faxing model. The HIE or Virtual Health Record (VHR) allows health care providers to access and add health data to their patients’ electronic health records. Additionally, to maintain security and privacy only health care providers can view patients’ health records. Over 26 hospitals and 244 practices have participated in SHARE since 2014 and have reported positive outcomes in terms of tracking patients seamlessly in real-time across the state.
Through the development of the SHARE program, and the implementation of electronic records in place of paper, various benefits were noted. Through its implementation and use, SHARE reduces medical errors and duplicate testing. In addition, it promotes improved management of chronic diseases and improvement of patient care coordination.
People / Organizations Involved
The SHARE program has been implemented in 26 hospitals and 244 practices in Arkansas. The program allows providers to access patients’ records online, in any location. It also allows providers to access Emergency Department records and identify important drug interactions that patients could have based on the medications they are already taking. It streamlines workflow and reduces administrative costs. The program promotes early detection, prevention and management of chronic diseases and better coordination of patient care between health care providers. Information entered into the system is updated immediately for all providers. This decreases the time lost to transferring and transcribing medical records, and decreases medical errors made by having insufficient or outdated patient information.
More than 37% of office-based physicians in Arkansas implemented an EHR system in 2011 and the adoption of this technology continues to grow. A number of examples from various organizations attest to the benefits of SHARE. For example, via the reading of patients’ health records in the SHARE Virtual Health Record, Delta Health Services has knowledge of when any of its patients are going to the emergency department. Further integration with the hospital has decreased the patient's risk of readmission. SHARE was also implemented in Harvey Pediatrics, the Bentonville clinic where it has met transformation goals and has continued to benefit from financial support from the PCMH program. These added resources have allowed the clinic to hire additional staff to focus on improving care coordination and patient engagement. This integration allows the clinic to track patients who are admitted to the hospital or who may see a specialist, perform appropriate follow up, and manage any necessary transitional care. Harvey Pediatrics have used their EMR system to identify the top ten percent of the clinic’s high priority patients. The model is helping the clinic achieve their goals and increase access to high-quality, efficient care for all of their patients. The development of a patient portal is anticipated in the future.
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