UC Davis Health System and Sutter Health First in Region to Share Electronic Health Records
SACRAMENTO, Calif., February 11, 2011 - Steven Hedrick, deputy director of rehabilitative programs at the California Department of Corrections, was relaxing at home recently when a sharp pain rippled through his lower abdomen. The ache was so severe that he drove to the nearest treatment center – Sutter Urgent Care, Yuba City. Physicians there quickly evaluated Steven, obtained a CT scan and diagnosed him with kidney stones. Hedrick was prescribed pain medication and counseled to check in with his primary care physician at UC Davis as soon as possible. At UC Davis, his physician used a new, secure Internet connection with the Sutter Health network to instantly view the results of Hedrick’s CT scan and laboratory work. Called Care Everywhere, the tool allows doctors in the Sutter Health and UC Davis networks to instantly share crucial patient data at the exact time they are delivering care – improving quality of care, saving time and potentially reducing cost. In Hedrick’s case, his doctor was able to quickly understand his recent health issue, continue monitoring his kidney stones and order a complementary ultrasound, which identified other issues that required additional care.
The cutting-edge record-sharing collaboration between UC Davis and Sutter Health is the first among health systems in Sacramento and among the first wave of connections between health-care institutions in the state.
“The ability to access electronic health records for patients who need to receive treatment from physicians who are not their regular provider is invaluable,” said Douglas Kirk, professor and vice chair of emergency medicine at UC Davis Medical Center. “Sharing electronic health records across institutions saves time, decreases the need for repeat medical testing and gives caregivers access to important clinical information, often eliminating the need to transfer records by phone or fax.”
“We know that unnecessary tests and services, and other inefficiencies drive up health care costs for patients – and they have no added health benefits,” said Gordon Hunt, senior vice president and chief medical officer for Sutter Health. “Information sharing like this gives physicians the ability to access and share patient records quickly and securely, which further enhances the quality and continuity of care for patients, and potentially reduces costs.”
How Care Everywhere Works
Care Everywhere enables health care organizations that use the Electronic Medical Records system developed by software vendor Epic, such as Sutter Health and UC Davis Medical Center, to instantly exchange confidential, electronic medical record information over the Internet, via encrypted connections. Strong security features are built into the program to ensure that patient information is secure and private at all times and a patient’s authorization is obtained before a connection is made.
“We want to ensure health information is available wherever and whenever it is needed to care for patients. That’s why in addition to connecting patients, caregivers and organizations within our own network via our systemwide EHR, Sutter Health is participating in collaborative and community initiatives that aim to create greater connectivity among California health care organizations,” added Jon Manis, chief information officer for Sutter Health.
Sharing electronic health records gives treating physicians access to comprehensive patient data, including a patient’s medical history, family medical history, previous diagnoses, medications, allergies, physicians’ notes, results of radiology and laboratory tests, medical procedures and more.
“The ability of clinicians practicing at different health-care institutions to share electronic health records is at the forefront of national initiatives to improve health care,” said Michael Minear, chief information officer at UC Davis Health System. “When we can share patient data with other hospitals and physicians using secure and easy-to-use health information exchange technologies, we support better health care, provide convenience for our patients and create the potential to reduce the cost of care by avoiding duplicate testing.”
A goal of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act is to computerize the nation’s health records by 2014. Medicare and Medicaid have established payment incentives, and federal reimbursements to hospitals and physicians that deploy and use electronic health records are designed to foster the development of a robust information technology health infrastructure nationwide.
About Sutter Health and UC Davis’ Collaboration
Since the program launched in December, UC Davis and Sutter Health have exchanged more than 300 patient records. A multidisciplinary team of informatics, technology, physician, nurse, legal, compliance and health information management experts collaborated for more than a year to establish a successful exchange of health records between both organizations.
UC Davis and Sutter Health are among 16 health care organizations in California using Epic. Efforts are under way to connect more hospitals across California. To date, three other care providers in California – Memorial Care, Talbert Medical Group and Rady Children’s Hospital in Southern California – are currently exchanging electronic health records using Epic’s functionality. Although other care providers can use industry standard-based interfaces to exchange clinical data, the Care Everywhere functionality exceeds the content shared with these standard interfaces.
UC Davis Health System is at the forefront of health-care providers nationwide that are exchanging health data to improve patient care. Over the last few years, UC Davis Health System has transitioned from paper records to a fully electronic clinical information system that includes digital clinical results and images, computerized physician order entry, sophisticated pharmacy systems and online documentation and care plans. For its sophisticated array of digital content and functionality at UC Davis Medical Center, HIMSS Analytics recognized UC Davis Health System with its EMR Adoption Model Stage 6 Award. HIMSS Analytics, which is part of the non-profit Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society, tracks 5,235 hospitals in America, and the medical center is the 164th hospital in the country to earn level 6 designation (for more details on HIMSS designation see the attached fact sheet).
As part of Sutter Health’s ongoing commitment to advancing quality in health care and increasing patient safety, the not-for-profit network has invested millions in new advanced technologies that help further improve care quality, safety and efficiency. Sutter’s electronic health record today connects more than 12,000 caregivers serving more than one million patients in Northern California. In 2010, the not-for-profit network announced it was accelerating implementation of its hospital roll out. The hospital focus builds on the successful EHR install across affiliated medical groups – and follows the nationally-recognized installation at Sutter-affiliated Mills-Peninsula Health Services in Burlingame in 2009. Sutter Health estimates it will invest $400 million over the next five years to complete EHR installations.
About UC Davis Health System
UC Davis Health System is advancing the health of patients everywhere by providing excellent patient care, conducting groundbreaking research, fostering innovative, interprofessional education, and creating dynamic, productive partnerships with the community. The academic health system includes one of the country's best medical schools, a 645-bed acute-care teaching hospital, an 800-member physician's practice group and the new Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. It is home to a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, an international neurodevelopmental institute, a stem cell institute and a comprehensive children's hospital. Other nationally prominent centers focus on advancing telemedicine, improving vascular care, eliminating health disparities and translating research findings into new treatments for patients. Together, they make UC Davis a hub of innovation that is transforming health for all. For more information, visit www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
About Sutter Health
Serving patients and their families in more than 100 Northern California cities and towns, Sutter Health doctors, not-for-profit hospitals and other health care service providers share resources and expertise to advance health care quality and access. The Sutter Medical Network includes many of California’s top-performing, highest quality physician organizations as measured annually by the Integrated Healthcare Association. Sutter-affiliated hospitals are regional leaders in cardiac care, women’s and children’s services, cancer care, orthopedics and advanced patient safety technology.
For more information about the not-for-profit Sutter Health network, please visit:
SutterHealth.org/about/ | www.Facebook.com/SutterHealth | www.YouTube.com/SutterHealth
UC Davis Medical Center
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