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Separate EHRs share data for mental health patients

November 18, 2014
by Julie Miller, Editor in Chief
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One of the biggest challenges in emergency care has always been the lack of information about incoming patients. In Broward County in Florida, two care providers are leveraging their respective EHRs to bridge the gap.

Now when Memorial Healthcare System’s emergency department refers a mental health patient to Henderson Behavioral Health, a package of data is transmitted immediately from Memorial’s Epic system to Henderson’s Netsmart system. As it moves between disparate platforms from two different IT suppliers, the data remains readable in the form of Health Level 7 (HL7) Consolidated Clinical Document Architecture (C-CDA). Such “platform-agnostic” data sharing can be used to meet Meaningful Use Stage 2 standards.

 The referral data sent to Henderson includes:

  • Labs completed for the medical diagnosis while in the emergency room/hospital to support medical clearance;
  •  Demographic information;
  • Medical summary;
  • Medication list; and
  • Vital signs.

Steven Ronik, CEO of Henderson Behavioral Health, said in an a press release that the benefits include detailed patient information, more reliable communication, and increased speed and accuracy of referrals. “The patient doesn’t have to wait around. We can get right to working on making them whole again,” he said.

Currently the average length of stay for a mental health patient in the emergency department is 21 hours, according to the release. But if that same patient can be quickly transferred to a behavioral healthcare facility, he or she can receive specialized health treatment, which can reduce costs and free up emergency room clinicians.