Reliance eHealth Collaborative is committed to working with the Oregon and Washington healthcare communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to help in our collective response. As a Health Information Exchange (HIE), Reliance serves as a valuable resource for facilitating the exchange of critical data used in the management of patients during a healthcare crisis. As part of our effort to support our communities with critical, near-real-time patient data and reporting Reliance staff and stakeholders routinely evaluate new use cases and HIE related tools that would best address those use cases.
HIE use cases during times of emergency and crisis are proven and the Reliance team began work with stakeholders very early in the COVID-19 outbreak to address data availability and quality related to the virus and to improve our library of Reports and Notifications. There are several COVID-19 specific use cases supported by the Reliance eHealth Collaborative environment including:
- Notification of COVID-19 Test Results – The HIE receives and aggregates COVID-19 test results from local hospital labs in near-real-time. These lab results provide visibility into both COVID-19 positive and COVID-19 negative results and can be displayed in Notification Reports that present results for your organizations attributed patient population in a single view or at the individual patient level using the Community Health Record.
- Symptoms and Comorbidities Reporting – Using a broad and deep clinical data set the HIE provides reports that identify patients who have symptoms or a diagnosis that qualifies them as potentially positive for COVID-19. This use case is a wide-net of identification intended to allow users to see in one view, using data aggregated from across the community, their organization’s attributed patient population that are displaying symptoms related to COVID-19.
- Patient Demographic Reporting – Having access to a patient’s most current contact information is crucial during an outbreak. Reliance aggregates demographic data, including contact information, for patients from sources across the Pacific Northwest and makes available contact information from the patient’s most recent healthcare encounter for use in follow-up care coordination and management.
- Standardization and Normalization of Coding – With large scale creation of data on patients across the state we always see a variation in medical coding languages and terminology services. For proper management of data at a regional level the HIE provides an essential service of maintaining cross-walks of terminology and codes that allow accurate and effective machine-to-machine exchange of information. This ensures that no matter how a health plan in Southern Oregon indicates a COVID-19 positive patient when a clinical user in Central Oregon views the patient’s information their practice can see that the patient has tested positive for COVID-19. Support for this use case is critical to ensuring patients are identified correctly for effective and accurate coordination of their care.
- Community Information Sharing – Clinical information is aggregated for patients from across the region and provided to clinical end users through the Community Health Record. This web-based portal is available to outpatient healthcare providers at no cost and enables those providers and their clinical staff a longitudinal view of the patient’s care. You are not required to have a specific EMR or have access to any particular health systems EMR portal. The Community Health Record often provides insight into hospital stays, urgent care encounters, lab tests, radiology studies and other critical information necessary to provide care and support for COVID-19 patients.
The COVID-19 outbreak is rapidly evolving, along with the quantity and content of clinical data the HIE is receiving from the community. In response Reliance continually iterates on this reporting to improve its effectiveness as we receive input from stakeholders. In addition to the use cases above Reliance is also working to address future use cases for EMS, Public Health and Long Term Population Health Management to include:
- EMS Notification – Reliance is working to provide Emergency Medical Services (EMS) dispatchers and users with insight into COVID-19 diagnosis at addresses or locations where EMS response is required. This will allow first responded to ensure appropriate COVID-19 PPE is used when entering a location to provide care for a patient.
- Death Notification – Reporting on patient mortality following a diagnosis of COVID-19 or following the identification of symptoms of COVID-19 will support epidemiologists and medical examiners with their investigative work and will help support accurate and proper reporting of mortality rates related to COVID-19.
- Social Risk Factors – Upcoming reporting refinements will include indicators of social risk such as housing or food insecurity in COVID-19 positive populations.
If one of these current or future use case would be helpful to you in managing your patients care we want to hear from you. The Reliance Community Health Record and Notification Reports are available AT NO COST to outpatient healthcare providers. If you do not already have access to the HIE please let us know by contacting the Reliance Help Desk through helpdesk@RelianceHIE.org or calling 855-290-5443 and select Option 1.