IXchange Blog

March 22, 2021

EMS Provides Patient Information, When It’s Needed Most

We all know the value of the EMS crew. Suddenly, a person is suffering a heart attack or near fatal accident. EMS is on the scene in minutes. The patient is whisked away to a hospital ER.

There, the gurney is taken from the ambulance. The EMS provider shouts vitals and the patient’s condition to the ER docs, as they run down the halls. At least that’s how it happens on TV. But what if, in the real world, the EMS en route to the hospital could send an electronic pre-hospital care reports (ePCR) to help transition the patient’s care, and add vital information to the patient’s medical record? Imagine if when the patient arrives at the ER, their medical history could already be in the patient record when the ER doctor is ready to examine and treat. Makes complete sense, right? That’s the ultimate goal, and why we are thrilled that this year, Healthix begins connecting EMS agencies to NYC hospitals, starting with 17 small independent EMS agencies. In NYC there are about 100 EMS agencies and 80+ hospitals. If every EMS agency had to connect directly to every hospital, it would require thousands of connections. Instead, EMS will send Healthix patient data in the form of ePCRs, and we will, in real-time, send that information on to the hospitals already connected to Healthix - 81 hospitals in NYC and Long Island. This will result in hospital ERs getting better information about patients, even before they arrive. And it will provide a more comprehensive view of the patient’s history. Initially, Healthix is connecting 17 EMS facilities with the Mount Sinai Health System. Once the service is standardized, the program will be rolled out to the rest of the hospitals and EMS agencies in our region. At first, the patient data will flow in one direction: from the EMS, through Healthix, to the hospital. In the future though, the data (e.g., pre-existing conditions, medications) will flow from Healthix to the EMS responder in the field. That way, Healthix can tell the EMT’s key patient information, that they would not otherwise know such as a positive COVID-19 test or a medication allergy, while they are in the field with the patient. And that information can make a real difference.
For you technical types, here is a look at the work flow (click image to enlarge).