For most people, healthcare involves a variety of providers—doctors, nurses, hospitals, specialists, laboratories and pharmacies, just to name a few. The majority of these entities are in the process of switching from paper to electronic records in order to make medical records more complete and accessible. Virtua has found a way to make these electronic records easier to access through its new health information exchange (HIE).
Sharing electronic personal health information (EPHI) among a person's healthcare providers can ensure that the patient is prescribed the most appropriate treatment based on his/her medical history. Electronically sharing medical information allows physicians quicker access than the old paper system. For example, test results can immediately be sent to ordering physicians through the HIE.
"If you receive treatment from multiple doctors who participate in the Virtua HIE, your physicians can see a more complete picture of your health, make more informed treatment decisions, and coordinate care more efficiently," explained Alfred Campanella, Virtua's executive vice president for strategic business growth and analytics.
Only a patient's authorized healthcare providers will have access to the EPHI. The information shared can include reports about illnesses, treatments, allergies, medicines, and test results. Health information is stored in or may pass through the Virtua secure server that is equipped with security safeguards to prevent records from being accessed by anyone who is not authorized.
Current participants in Virtua's HIE include Virtua Health, Virtua Medical Group, Reconstructive Orthopedics, South Jersey Radiology Associates, Larchmont Medical Imaging, Quest Diagnostics, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Kennedy Health System, Meetinghouse Family Physicians, Genesis Healthcare, and Regional Cancer Care Associates. The addition of other providers is ongoing and the number of participants is expected to increase.
Virtua also plans to create secure connections to healthcare providers who participate in other community-based HIE networks. These connections will allow physicians who participate in different HIEs to better coordinate a patient's care by sharing information over a secure connection.
"The secure sharing of information among healthcare providers will only improve the delivery of care for patients," said Campanella. "Virtua's health information exchange is an example of technology use that is moving the delivery of healthcare into its next phase."