Program connecting all hospitals’ emergency departments launches in Va.


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A program that’s the first of its kind in the nation is launching in Virginia, connecting every hospital’s emergency department with an electronic system for patient records.

“When you’re in the emergency setting, every second counts,” said Gov. Ralph Northam.

As a pediatric neurologist, he knows what other doctors go through.

“When a patient comes into the emergency department, as you might imagine, oftentimes they don’t have records with them,” he said.

Getting those records just got a little easier.

The Virginia Emergency Department Care Coordination Program launched last month, state officials announced the program Tuesday. It connects the every emergency department in the Commonwealth.

Essentially, it acts as an online portal for doctors to hop on and access a patient’s information from other hospitals. The program also allows doctors to see the types of tests, prescriptions and who else has treated the individual.

The developers from ConnectVirginia and CollectiveMedical, a technology partner, explained the program looks at data in real time, so they can assist “complex, high-risk” patients. They say this helps ensure people with chronic issues, like homelessness or opioid addictions, don’t “fall through the cracks” of the healthcare system.

According to officials with the Department of Health, it cost about $3.9 million to set up the first phase of the program. $370,000 came from taxpayers and the rest came from the federal government. The second phase, which connects more primary providers and caseworkers outside of the emergency department, will be picked up by the healthcare providers.

The Governor says the cost for care could also go down, since doctors may not be ordering extra tests for patients because they can already see what’s in their most updated records.

“So to be able to have access to a patient’s information is key and that’s really where the quality will be improved, by being able to take better care of these patients,” Gov. Northam said.

State officials say the program launched at the end of last month. So far, they’ve received positive feedback from users

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