While health information exchanges (HIEs) are becoming more common in the medical world, technical innovations have stayed relegated to individual states. However, one Maryland hospital is making headlines by becoming the first facility in the United States to join another state's HIE.
Atlantic General Hospital (AGH) is now linked to the Delaware Health Information Network (DHIN). Specifically, DHIN and AGH physicians will have access to a patient's medical records, including pathology, laboratory, and radiology results dating back six years.
AGH CFO Cheryl Nottingham told the Crisfield-Somerset County Times that it was a positive step forward to connect with the DHIN. According to Nottingham, there has been an increasing number of patients who are crossing the Delaware border for health care.
"About 20 percent of the patients we treat in our emergency department are from Delaware, and having access to health information from Delaware hospitals affords another level of care that we can now provide to our patients," she said.
Dr. Jan Lee, CEO of DHIN explained to the news source that since her organization launched six years ago, the lines that define physical borders in health care have become more difficult to distinguish. For example, patients could move to a new area, but still feel comfortable with their previous care provider. Having those records in a patient's file - regardless of the state - can help facilities provide faster and more quality care.
Lee added that this is the wave of the future for health care, and that over time, there will be a truly borderless system.
As more hospitals and medical facilities work to integrate such technology into daily operations, firms that specialize in healthcare IT consulting can keep the transition as smooth as possible.