CHICO, Calif., June 25, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Doctors and medical technicians will be able to quickly and securely access the medical records of 2.6 million patients in Northern California following the formation of what becomes the geographically largest and fastest growing Health Information Exchange (HIE) in the state.
SacValley MedShare, a non-profit HIE based out of Northern California, has agreed to merge with Connect Healthcare, a non-profit HIE covering the counties of Sonoma, Napa, Solano and Yolo. The resulting HIE, which will retain the SacValley MedShare name, will provide health information exchange services to hospitals, clinics and physicians in 16 counties across 37,799 square miles, stretching from the Sacramento Valley to the Oregon and Nevada borders.
"Good communication is key to providing effective, safe, and efficient patient care management," said Elizabeth Steffen, Project Manager for SacValley MedShare. "We are excited about adding the Connect Healthcare region into our family of hospitals, clinics and health-service organizations."
The Affordable Care Act mandated that health-care providers have access to electronic health records; however, sharing that information between medical staffs with different electronic medical systems and across great distances is often difficult.
Further complicating record-sharing is the fact that coding and record-keeping methods often vary between providers and health-care systems, which could delay the delivery of essential care in emergency situations.
The expanded SacValley MedShare will allow doctors and other health-care providers in Northern California to access a patient's vital medical information electronically using standardized coding and formats – improving the speed, quality, safety and cost of patient care.
"This is an important step in ensuring the continuity of health-care for the people of Northern California, many of whom live in remote areas away from emergency services," said Lyman Dennis, Executive Director of Connect Healthcare.
As an example of how patients benefit from SacValley MedShare's services, HIE officials recounted a case in which a 16-year-old girl was diagnosed with acute appendicitis at a clinic in rural Chester, CA. She was flown by medical helicopter to Enloe Medical Center 65 miles away in Chico, and thanks to SacValley MedShare's information sharing services her complete medical records, including emergency room CT scans, arrived at Enloe before she did. Emergency surgery resulted in a complete recovery.
"Patient care is paramount," said Myron Machula, CFO of Enloe Medical Center and Board Chair of SacValley MedShare. "SacValley MedShare will always be patient-centered and focused on giving health-care providers the information they need to properly meet patient medical needs."
SacValley MedShare makes use of technology systems from Collective Medical, including EDie -- a software solution that allows information to be shared between any emergency room a patient has visited -- which is offered to members at no cost.
"EDie not only automatically pushes key patient insights to the provider at point of care, but it also listens to that data to identify patient risks and engages members of the care teams to help the patient avoid any potential adverse events," said Gabriel Waters, VP of Network Development at Collective Medical.
The EDie system uses enhanced safety protocols to ensure patient information is secure.
As part of the acquisition, four board members from Connect Healthcare will sit on the board of SacValley MedShare -- including three medical doctors -- as it looks to expand its network to include hospital systems reaching Oregon, Nevada and Arizona. Negotiations are already underway to add nearly two dozen health care providers to its list of 45, including national hospital systems, clinics and academic centers.
"SacValley MedShare provides an invaluable service to the residents of Northern California," said Art Sponseller, President and CEO of the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California, which provided start up support for SacValley MedShare. "Together with Connect Healthcare, the combined resources will benefit the region even further."
Besides the four counties served by Connect Healthcare, the combined SacValley MedShare serves Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Shasta, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity and Yuba counties. Participant members include Ampla Health, Dignity Health Systems, Enloe Medical Center, Partnership HealthPlan of California and Feather River Tribal Health. Other participants include Adventist Health, St. Joseph Health System, Redwood Community Health Coalition, and NorthBay Healthcare.
SOURCE SacValley MedShare