DENVER, March 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- CORHIO, the Colorado Regional Health Information Organization, announced today that True North Health Navigation, the first mobile emergency medical unit of its kind in the state, is now accessing vital patient information through the health information exchange (HIE). While en route to non-life-threatening 911 calls, True North Health Navigation practitioners have access to complete patient medical histories, including recent treatments and medications. This allows practitioners to diagnose and treat patients with greater accuracy and safety while eliminating the cost of unnecessary trips to the emergency room. True North Health Navigation is partnered with South Metro Fire Rescue and currently serves residents in their district, including parts of Centennial, Greenwood Village, Lone Tree, Parker and the Denver Tech Center.
According to an analysis of national data on 911 calls compiled by the National Fire Protection Association, about 20 percent of calls are non-life-threatening, such as allergic reactions and migraines. Although these situations are urgent, they may not require the level of care the emergency room provides. In an effort to ease overwhelmed emergency rooms and to lower health care costs, True North Health Navigation is responding to non-life-threatening 911 calls with a staff of emergency medicine trained practitioners and a special truck equipped with a variety of medical supplies, medications and a certified lab that can process blood and urine tests on scene. The mobile medical unit is capable of providing a variety of advanced medical treatments, including suturing, splinting and catheter replacement.
"We are taking the capabilities of the emergency room and moving them into the field," says True North Health Navigation Co-founder and CEO Mark Prather, M.D. "Essentially we've reinvented the house call, so that we can properly treat urgent and semi-emergent medical conditions right in a patient's own home."
Additionally, the True North Health Navigation medical team can view patient health information on iPads set up to securely access CORHIO's web-based PatientCare 360® application, which helps them gain valuable insights into patients' medical histories and head off potential medication interactions. For example, if an elderly patient was recently released from the hospital and calls 911 with low blood pressure or a rapid heart beat, a True North Health Navigation practitioner could look up that patient's history in the CORHIO HIE and quickly determine if medications should be adjusted or changed.
"The CORHIO HIE helps give us the necessary patient medical information we need in order to deliver the best care possible," adds Dr. Prather. "In emergency situations, it is rare that you have an accurate picture of a patient's medical history. With CORHIO, we can see what medications a patient is taking or even find out results of recent lab work before we even arrive on-scene, which can significantly impact the course of treatment."
CORHIO's secure HIE network links the medical records systems of hospitals, doctors and other health care providers throughout Colorado and enables providers to exchange vital patient information, including lab test and pathology results, X-ray, MRI and other imaging reports, as well as physician transcription reports.
Not only is the True North Health Navigation medical mobile unit efficient and convenient for patients, the cost savings is significant. By eliminating transportation to the hospital and the cost of an emergency room visit, it can save upwards of $3,000 per patient. Many patients are now paying a higher percentage of their medical care costs, so it is especially important if they can potentially save hundreds or even thousands of dollars by avoiding an emergency room visit and instead, receive treatment from the True North Health Navigation mobile medical team.
"We're excited to be a part of such an innovative approach to emergency care," says Kelly Joines, interim CEO at CORHIO. "True North Health Navigation is a truly forward-thinking organization that shares our vision of improving patient care and eliminating inefficiencies in health care. In the future, we hope that True North Health Navigation's mobile services can expand across the state, so that more communities can benefit."
CORHIO is dedicated to improving health care quality for all Coloradans through health information exchange (HIE). As the state-designated entity for HIE, CORHIO collaborates with health care stakeholders including physicians, hospitals, clinics, public health, long-term care, laboratories, health plans and patients to improve care collaboration through secure systems and processes for sharing clinical information. CORHIO is a not-for-profit supported in large part by grants, including awards from the Colorado Health Foundation and from federal ARRA HITECH funds. CORHIO's technical infrastructure is built on industry-leading HIE technology developed and maintained by Medicity. For more information about CORHIO, please visit www.corhio.org.