Physicians and providers all over the state can now access immediately and securely exchange current, updated electronic health records (EHRs) for thousands of Arkansas children, thanks to the contributions of Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH), which is now pushing data through SHARE, the Statewide Health Information Exchange.
SHARE enables providers at different medical facilities across Arkansas to exchange medical records for patients they have in common. Using SHARE, a pediatrician can connect to a patient’s most current and comprehensive health information, including that patient’s health data from other facilities connected to SHARE.
For example, if six-year-old Josephina from Batesville is admitted to Children’s Hospital, her SHARE-connected pediatrician back home can securely access her health data from her stay in the hospital. Her pediatrician can then update her progress using SHARE, so that Josephina’s other SHARE-connected physicians can also stay informed about her care.
From a hospital’s perspective, if a child arrives in the Emergency Room for the first time after a car wreck, the ER staff is now able to pull up his record in SHARE, see his current medical condition and medications, and make better-informed decisions about his care on the spot.
Arkansas Children’s Hospital Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer Darrell Leonhard said the hospital was excited to be able to offer this level of care coordination for its patients. “We want the best experience possible for the kids we treat, and we see SHARE as a way to improve the already excellent care provided by the staff at ACH.”
ACH is one of 26 hospitals signed on to participate in SHARE. Arkansas Health Information Technology Coordinator Ray Scott said ACH’s participation marks a turning point for SHARE.
“We are very excited to have Arkansas Children’s Hospital as part of our SHARE network. Every time a new practice or hospital in the state joins SHARE, the network is that much more useful to its participants. Arkansas Children’s Hospital is the one that other providers in SHARE have been clamoring for—being able to access electronic records and communicate more easily with ACH makes SHARE significantly more powerful and relevant to all hospitals, physicians, therapists, and parents,” Scott said.
Scott said that research shows that patients whose health records are available via a secure health information exchange with their other physicians receive better care and have fewer duplicate tests and procedures ordered by the different physicians.
“SHARE makes health care better for all of us,” Scott said. “National studies show that the average patient in the U.S. sees 18 different providers. Think about that. Haven’t you ever wished your doctors could communicate your health information with each other so that the next provider you see knows what the previous one did for you? That’s what this linkage between ACH and SHARE makes possible.”
The State Health Alliance for Records Exchange (SHARE) is a secure, electronic system that allows authorized health care providers, health services professionals and public health authorities in Arkansas to exchange accurate patient medical information in real time. The Arkansas Office of Health Information Technology (OHIT), created by Act 891 of 2011, has implemented SHARE in a series of phases, beginning with Secure Messaging to help providers meet meaningful use requirements, and a fully-functional health information exchange (HIE) that gives health care providers access to hospital discharge summaries, lab results, immunization records and other vital information. For more information, visit www.SHAREArkansas.com.
Arkansas Children’s Hospital is the only pediatric medical center in Arkansas and one of the largest in the United States serving children from birth to age 21. Over the past century, ACH has grown to span 29 city blocks and house 370 beds, a staff of approximately 500 physicians, 95 residents in pediatrics and pediatric specialties and more than 4,000 employees. The private, nonprofit healthcare facility boasts an internationally renowned reputation for medical breakthroughs and intensive treatments, unique surgical procedures and forward-thinking medical research - all dedicated to fulfilling our mission of enhancing, sustaining and restoring children's health and development. For more information, visit www.archildrens.org.