On Demand Health Records in Emergency Rooms

How many times have medical efforts been delayed or just incomplete because the emergency room personnel did not have access to patients’ medical records? I recently read about an exciting (and scary) initiative in Wisconsin to provide emergency room clinicians with access to patient health records via a health information exchange.

Wisconsin Health Information Exchange (WHIE), Humana, a publicly traded health benefits company, and Microsoft have partnered to create a health information exchange to assess the impacts of providing emergency room physicians with a historical view of patients. Humana’s regional medical market officer, Dr. Albert Tzeel, said the benefits of having a patient’s historical information include fewer unnecessary or redundant medical tests. He said it also produces steps that “positively influence” the cost of delivering care.

WHIE and other health information exchanges utilize information technology to provide secure and authorized access to clinical data, theoretically improving care and lowering costs. The Microsoft Health Solutions Group is providing WHIE with a technology platform called Amalga to aggregate and share health data.  The Amalga software  has ability to integrate data from multiple health care systems and to present information to clinicians in a useful manner. The WHIE implementation will lead the nation in the application of this software platform to address the complex needs of a regional health information exchange system.

To learn more about WHIE,

To learn more about Amalga,