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How EMS agencies can participate in Health Information Exchanges

Health Information Exchange participation and funding for EMS agencies is a pathway to improving patient care and safety


The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a letter in early 2016 to expand the eligibility of funds to encourage the adoption and use of Health Integration Exchanges through 2021 [1]. These funds are directed through the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009. The HITECH act can directly address many of the challenges that EMS faces daily and reduces the obstacles in creating successful community medicine programs.

What is a Health Integration Exchange?
An electronic Health Information Exchange allows all providers of care to appropriately access and share patient information timely and securely. For example, instead of faxing or dropping off EMS patient care records at the hospital an HIE allows the patient care record to immediately be placed inside the hospital's records of care. An HIE greatly improves the completeness of a patient’s record as treatments and evaluations are jointly reviewed to reduce readmissions, avoid medication errors, improve diagnoses and decrease duplication testing.

What are the advantages of an HIE for EMS?
Here are five advantages of an HIE for EMS agencies to be aware of.

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