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Pennsylvania HIT Group Announces Major Expansion

One of Pennsylvania’s largest health information sharing organizations—the Keystone Health Information Exchange (KeyHIE)—announced that four regional healthcare providers have become participants: Presbyterian Senior Living in Dillsburg; Schuylkill Health System in Pottsville; Community Medical Center Healthcare System in Scranton; and SUN Home Health and Hospice in Northumberland.

The exchange is a secure network that links hospitals and other healthcare providers throughout Pennsylvania and provides seamless and secure access to health information—including diagnoses, test results, allergies, and medication lists.

Bloomsburg Hospital, Geisinger Medical Center, and Shamokin Area Community Hospital were among the exchange’s first active users. KeyHIE formed in 2005 with the vision to improve healthcare quality and efficiency through the increased use of digital health records.

A secure Web-based browser houses the information and allows clinicians to see patient information from all participating healthcare providers.

“Patients receiving homecare and hospice services from us are also receiving services from their physician or another specialist providing treatment. They may even need to access emergency services at the hospital,” explains Donald Wilver, executive vice president human resources and community affairs for SUN Home Health Services. “The availability of key health information through the electronic record that is available to all providers in the continuum of care is essential to assuring good patient outcomes.”

Members of the exchange emphasized that it is a priority to respect patients’ privacy and keep their health information confidential.

The first step for patients to participate is to sign the authorization form available through their provider. Once a patient gives authorization, their healthcare team may access important health information. More than 300,000 patients have registered to participate by signing this form.

The system currently contains hospitalization discharge summaries (summaries of care and clinical results while a patient is in the hospital) and other documents that contain information doctors most need to provide the highest level of patient care. In the future, more clinical information will be stored and available throughout the region.

KeyHIE does not permit its services to be used for marketing purposes. Patient information may only be accessed by licensed providers involved in the care of that patient.

Evangelical Community Hospital and Moses Taylor Health Care System (which includes Moses Taylor Hospital and Mid-Valley Hospital) are scheduled to begin using the system this summer.

For information, visit www.KeyHIE.org.

Source: Geisinger Health System