A first-of-its kind exchange in Camden will give emergency room physicians and primary care doctors shared access to people’s medical records.
Three Camden health systems have launched the first-of-its-kind medical-records swap in the state today. From WHYY’s health and science desk, Kerry Grens reports on how it works.
Emergency departments at Lourdes, Virtua and Cooper hospitals will share patients’ records with each other and with primary care physicians in Camden. The Health Information Exchange is intended to give doctors a full picture of a patient’s history, which can be difficult to get if that person bounces from provider to provider.
Maureen Hetu, the chief information officer at Lourdes, says her hospital was already sharing medical records with physicians in the community.
Hetu: However, the feedback that we had always gotten is that it’s difficult for the physician because they not only have to look at our system to see if their patient has come to Lourdes, but they also have to log into Virtua’s system to see any of the information they have. And log into Cooper’s system.
Hetu says the exchange will help emergency doctors provide care faster by knowing what’s already been done.
Hetu: We repeat all of the same studies a patient would have had a week ago at Cooper or at Virtua, so you see that delay in care because now we’ve got to wait for the test to be done and the results to come back as well as the additional cost.
Hetu says other departments in the hospitals will not have access to the exchange just yet. Patients must opt out if they do not want their records shared.
Several other medical record exchanges are starting up around the state.