Project links ER docs to patient's medication history

By Molly Merrill
12:33 PM

MEDS-ED Link, a project of the Northern Virginia Regional Health Information Organization (NoVaRHIO) done in conjunction with Inova Health System and GE Healthcare, launched on Monday. It provides emergency physicians access to patient medication histories.

Emergency docs at Inova Alexandria Hospital, a 318-bed community hospital in Alexandria, Va., will be able to send a query through the MEDS-ED system to existing prescription data repositories such as Surescripts. This query, based on the patient's demographic data, will be carried through a secure technology infrastructure designed by GE Healthcare's global eHealth division and implemented by the Inova Health System technology team. Physicians will verify the resulting medication history report with each patient.

Ryan Bosch, CMIO, Inova Health System conducted a four-step demo of MEDS-ED Link during the project's launch.

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1. Consent and Demographics: This step will identity and register the patient and manage consent.

2. Medication and History Query: This step will request medication lists from different sources like pharmacies and payers. These medications will be in the database if the patient's insurer has paid for the prescription, Bosch explained. He says they expect 80 out of 100 patient visits to have a MEDS-ED response.

3. Other Data Query: This step will include an electronic location for the data.  It will give the data a serial number so that it can be read, stored by the computer in a structured way. Future phases of this will include the File of Life Clinical Summaries, or continuity of care document for the patient.

4. Medication History Response: This step brings the data right into the electronic health records. It puts the data into the context of the note and patient care environment, which Bosch says is "key."

Having access to accurate patient medication list will allow physicians to better "practice medicine in the setting of knowledge," as Bosch puts it.

"The more accurate and timely the information at our disposal, the more tailored and beneficial our response can be," said Martin Brown, medical director of Emergency Medicine, Inova Alexandria Hospital. "NoVaRHIO's MEDS-ED Link will give us faster and more reliable access to vital prescription history data during a time of great stress for patients and their families."

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