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New technology from CWRU links patient records between hospitals, medical flight crews
Date:2/18/2014

Although trauma, heart and stroke patients benefit from being transferred from a local hospital to a higher-level care facility, it's unclear why patients transferred with non-urgent medical conditions show at least a 30 percent higher death rate than had they stayed put, according to researchers from Case Western Reserve University's nursing school.

"We think the answer is somewhere in the medical records," said Andrew Reimer, PhD, RN, KL2 Scholar instructor at the Dorothy Ebersbach Academic Center for Flight Nursing at Case Western Reserve University's Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.

But accessing information in electronic medical records (EMRs) at different hospitals and from the flight crew transporting the patient is difficult because their operating systems organize information differently and don't always speak the same computer language.

Reimer, working with Case Western Reserve engineering and biostatistics experts, is developing technology that overcomes the communication problems and mines information from patient charts.

That's critical, Reimer said, because each hospital and the flight crew generate a new patient record.

All three charts must be reviewed for a complete picture of the patient's situation and to determine when to move the patient, what conditions warrant moving and what might impact the patient's health in the transfer, he said.

"Families also need the information to determine what's best for their loved onesmove the patient or stay," he said.

Such information could impact the 400,000 patients nationally transported annually by helicopter, another 150,000 by jet and an unknown number by land, according to Reimer, based on analyses performed by the Case Western Reserve biostatics and epidemiology department.

To mine medical information, such as patient demographics, medical and surgical histories, procedures, laboratory, pharmacy, vital signs, billin
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Contact: Susan Griffith
susan.griffith@case.edu
216-368-1004
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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