Health Current recently participated in the launch of the Patient Centered Data Home™ (PCDH) initiative, a nationwide initiative coordinated by the health information exchange (HIE) members of The Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC), a national collaborative representing health information exchanges (HIEs). Health Current joined with HIEs throughout the country that are now actively sharing data with each other to support mobile patient populations.
Health Current shares a common border with the HIEs that participated in the production or demonstration implementations, and those demonstrations showed that the PCDH initiative is a valuable and scalable tool that allows a patient’s information to follow patients wherever they seek care, according to Melissa Kotrys, CEO of Health Current.
“In Arizona we see a lot of winter visitors and others who travel to Arizona and need to receive care,” Kotrys said. “We also have a very mobile population that travels outside the state and will need to seek care outside of their ‘home’ HIE. We were able to demonstrate that the PCDH initiative works and is well worth expanding to a national model.”
What is PCDH?
At its core, PCDH is an inter-HIE alerting system. Because patients travel, it is common for a person to be treated by a doctor or clinic a distance from where they live. Frequently the “away” treatment facility is not a part of the same HIE that the patient’s doctors at home participate in. As a result, when the patient travels, there is a higher risk that the clinician treating them will not have access to the patient’s full medical records to support diagnoses and treatment plans.
To more quickly alert the treating physician that there are medical records available for access from the patient’s doctors at home, and to provide a specific query location to retrieve those records, HIEs worked together to create the technical ability for HIEs to automatically notify each other regarding the existence of a patient’s medical records and to synchronize the patient’s identity among the HIE systems.
The mechanism that makes this work is very straightforward. When a patient presents at a medical facility away from home, that facility will generate an Admission, Discharge, Transfer (ADT) message. This message includes demographics about the patient; information such as the patient’s name, the patient’s location in the hospital, his or her address, phone number, gender, etc. By including ZIP Code information in the ADT, PCDH can automatically detect when a patient is being treated within a ZIP code outside of their normal home area.
When these events occur, the “away” HIE alerts the HIE in the patient’s home area, and that home HIE, known as the patient’s “data home,” automatically lets the treating HIE know they have records for the patient so the treating HIE can generate a query to access those records. Once the treatment encounter concludes, PCDH also makes it possible for the “away” HIE to alert the patient’s home HIE that there are new records for their patient that the home HIE providers can access in order to better care for the patient on an ongoing basis. This new capability makes it possible for a patient’s comprehensive medical history to follow them wherever they seek treatment.
For more information on PCDH, click here.