Indianapolis, IN---Community Health Network is one of the first community-based health care systems in the country to implement a virtual single patient record (vSPR), which allows nurses, doctors and clinicians to examine patient medical records from multiple computer systems and care sites in a single electronic view. Community is partnering with CareEvolution, Inc., a leading provider of secure health interoperability solutions, to implement the CareEvolution HIEBus™ technology, which connects electronic medical records and other clinical data across network facilities.
The vSPR project provides Community caregivers integrated access to more than ten years of data for the nearly one million patients who have received inpatient or outpatient care at a Community Health Network facility, including hospitals, ambulatory centers, surgery centers and physician offices. The benefits of the initiative include improved convenience, quality and safety for patients, in addition to a more complete snapshot for health care workers of patients’ medical conditions. Currently, more than 1,600 caregivers at Community are using the vSPR in day-to-day care, with more coming online as implementation continues.
“The virtual single patient record is a mammoth step in the technological advances of health care systems,” said Edward Koschka, network vice president of information technology and chief information officer for Community Health Network. “The vSPR functions as a common patient chart, but compiles data from multiple clinical systems in the same way Expedia assembles flight and hotel options from separate computer systems of the various airlines and hotel chains. Community is leading the way locally and joins the ranks of only a few health care systems nationally with this type of innovation.”
With vSPR, doctors in ambulatory or hospital settings are able to quickly and securely access comprehensive patient information such as hospitalizations, office visits, medications, drug allergies, lab results, imaging exams and immunizations from data stored in multiple electronic medical record systems. For example, if a patient had multiple visits to an emergency room, an imaging center and a physician’s office over the course of several years and is admitted again, caregivers can see all the diagnoses and treatments that occurred at these multiple facilities.
The single view of a patient’s medical history can improve care by giving medical personnel easier access to records and allowing them better interpretation of data, thereby reducing the risk of medical errors. It reduces the need for one caregiver to request patient files from another provider, enabling more prompt care. For patients, it eliminates the need to recall and repeat details of their medical history as they are served by different caregivers.
The system will reduce the need to repeat certain medical tests, such as blood tests and imaging, which may have been performed recently but in a different location. Doctors can also securely view records from home, if necessary. “There will be fewer duplicate tests, because all the tests are available on the vSPR,” said Harry Laws, M.D., chief medical information officer at Community Health Network. “Patients won’t have to have another blood draw because we can get that information from their doctor’s office, even at two in the morning.”
“One unintended consequence of the country’s investment in digitizing health care over the last ten years is that EMR (electronic medical record) success has resulted in islands of automation,” said Vik Kheterpal, M.D., principal with CareEvolution, Inc. “Today, caregivers are confronted with the challenge of having a holistic view of a patient’s health because the data are fragmented across multiple EMRs. Using HIEBus™, Community has been able to deliver clinicians a virtual single patient record without disrupting the workflow and existing IT investments across its expansive and diverse sites of care.” Dr. Kheterpal went on to say, “Community is on the very leading edge with the vSPR because the organization was an early innovator in the migration from paper charts to electronic medical records.”
Community Health Network providers and facilities currently using the virtual single patient record include Community Hospitals North, East, South, and Anderson; The Indiana Heart Hospital; Community Physicians of Indiana; and MedCheck urgent care centers. Other Community entities and facilities, such as Community Home Health Services and IndianaSurgeryCenters will come online during a gradual implementation phase.
Community Health Network joins a small list of other respected national providers using similar technology for medical record integration, including the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Johns Hopkins Health System. The vSPR is based on the model of interoperability for health information networks encouraged by the federal government to reduce costs and improve safety. The technology will allow patient data to be shared by providers across Community’s five hospitals and more than 70 sites of care. vSPR has been in a pilot mode for about a year and was put into full production during June 2008.
In 2009, Community anticipates vSPR will be linked with the myCommunity program, which provides consumers an array of integrated health care services that allow members to manage their personal health records; check into a network facility; order prescriptions and refills; receive medical reminders; update family on the health status of a loved one; and chat with a nurse. This program also utilizes the myCommunity card, the most comprehensive and secure service card available in health care today. The vSPR addition will allow patients access to their family health record, which will contain a summarized patient-friendly view of their medical encounters.
Community Health Network has been named for eight out of ten years one of the nation’s “100 Most Wired” hospitals by Hospitals and Health Networks, the journal of the American Hospital Association. In addition, Community is ranked 9th in the SDI 2009 IHN 100®, the 12th annual ranking of the 100 most integrated health networks (IHNs) in the United States. The network was the only Indianapolis health system to make the top 100.
Although still years away, the ultimate goal for hospitals and medical centers is to achieve worldwide health care technological integration, so that every patient across the globe can benefit from a virtual single patient record.
For more information on CareEvolution, visit www.careevolution.com.
About Community Health Network
Ranked among the top ten integrated health care networks in the nation, Community Health Network has more than 70 sites of care throughout central Indiana. This includes Community Hospitals East, North and South in Indianapolis and Community Hospital Anderson; The Indiana Heart Hospital, a dedicated heart hospital; Indiana Surgery Centers; Community Physicians of Indiana; Community Home Health Services; MedCheck urgent care centers and MEDPOINT express convenience clinics; employer health services; nursing homes; and other health care facilities. Community Health Network is committed to getting you well and back to your life. For more information about Community Health Network or to find a physician, call 800-777-7775 or visit eCommunity.com.
About CareEvolution, Inc.
CareEvolution is a leading provider of secure health interoperability solutions. HIEBus™ (Health Information Exchange BUS) is a proven, comprehensive suite of SOA technology solutions for connecting healthcare—hospital to hospital, hospital to physicians, physician to physician and community RHIOs. HIEBus™ provides pre-built adapters to existing laboratory, pharmacy, EMR, PMIS, and claims management systems to “share” information in a secure, reliable, and incremental manner. Distinct components such as Identity Management, Record Location, Clinical Data Integration, Audit & Log, Data Persistence, Visualization, Terminology, and Data Mining may be adopted piecemeal or as a comprehensive technology platform.