New Software Lets First Responders Gain Critical Link to Emergency Department

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Hartford HealthCare is teaming up with local EMS responders using the system’s electronic health records system to improve communication and patient care in the field.

On Feb. 14, Backus Hospital became the first hospital in the health system to go live with the Health Data Exchange. The interface links the EMS patient report with Epic, enabling rapid feedback for EMS agencies on what happens to their patient once they turn over care. It also gives the emergency department rapid access to the EMS patient chart to assist in patient care. The Mohegan Tribal Fire Department EMS participated in the official rollout.

With the Health Data Exchange, EMS responders use a USB bar code scanner attached to their laptop or ePCR tablet to capture the patient’s registration number. Patient information is instantly shared between the emergency department providers and emergency responders.

The sharing of information — all HIPAA compliant — enables the emergency department more immediate access to view the ambulance record, and provides EMS a more complete picture as to what care was rendered to their patient in the hospital.

Kevin Ferrarotti, System Director of EMS Network Development, said the technology will mean better care and improved efficiency in the field.

“We will now be able to give EMS real-time feedback and more clinical information than we ever had the capacity to give them, and doctors will be able to see almost in real time what happened in the field,” said Ferrarotti. “This is information that we were always giving them but it’s been a manual process. We’re automating that process now.”

Ferrarotti says Hartford HealthCare processes more than 100,000 patient transports each year.

“That’s 100,000 transports and 100,000 patient charts that HIM has to go and manually grab, filter and upload. Our goal within the first six months is to take that process and cut that workload in half,” he said.

The Health Data Exchange is expected to go live in all Hartford HealthCare emergency departments in the next month.

Learn more about emergency medical services at Hartford HealthCare here

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