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Health information exchange conquers new frontier: Emergency medical services
Date:10/20/2009

INDIANAPOLIS - Emergency medical responders typically know very little about the patients they treat at mass disasters, accident scenes, or other sites where an ambulance is dispatched for rapid response. That's true everyplace in the United States except Indianapolis, the capital of the most health-wired state in the nation.

Regenstrief Institute investigators are the first in the nation to link emergency medical services providers (emergency medical technicians or paramedics) in the field to patients' preexisting health information, a link enabling the emergency workers to make more informed treatment decisions and to transport patients to the most appropriate facility.

Typically, EMTs and paramedics lack even basic access to pre-existing patient information when delivering patient care in the field or at the scene of a single or multi-casualty incident. Improving access to this information can significantly enhance the quality, safety and efficiency of the care they deliver.

"Electronic medical record technology has been widely recognized for its role in improving quality of care, increasing efficiency of health-care delivery, preventing medical errors and enhancing patient safety," said John T. Finnell, M.D., the Regenstrief Institute investigator and associate professor of emergency medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine who developed the link between electronic medical records and emergency treatment in the field. "Using Regenstrief research and technology, metropolitan Indianapolis is the only place in the country that is able to securely push health-care data to medics in real time, which can impact the pre-hospital care provided," he said.

Regenstrief investigators developed the continually expanding Indiana Network for Patient Care. INPC allows emergency department clinicians to securely obtain patients' medical histories, providing the ED provider with critical information about his or her patien
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Contact: Cindy Fox Aisen
caisen@iupui.edu
317-274-7722
Indiana University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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