Penn, Crozer begin electronic sharing of medical records

Posted: February 23, 2014

The HealthShare Exchange of Southeastern Pennsylvania, a nonprofit formed to facilitate the electronic sharing of medical records among hospitals, doctors and insurers, has established its first link, between the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Crozer-Keystone Health System.

The development, announced last week by HealthShare officials, was a big step in the highly fragmented Philadelphia-area health-care market, because the exchange could eventually close expensive information gaps that lead to redundant testing and other waste.

"If a patient leaves an emergency room at Penn and they happen to have a [primary care physician] who is part of the Crozer system, they [the Crozer doctor] will be informed within hours of the discharge," Martin Lupinetti, executive director of HealthShare, said Friday.

There are significant benefits to "getting the information out sooner, getting it to where it needs to be, so those downstream providers can be proactive and follow up with the patient," ensuring that prescriptions have been filled, for example, Lupinetti said.

A longer-term goal of the exchange is to allow doctors and hospital personnel to pull patient information from a database rather than relying on one doctor to send it to another. That more complicated exchange could happen in 2015, Lupinetti said.

The next step is to add more health systems to the network - just like building out a highway system by adding extensions, Lupinetti said.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia "is probably the next one to go. We have other systems in the works, like Main Line and Grand View, Abington, and so forth," he said.


hbrubaker@phillynews.com

215-854-4651 @InqBrubaker

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