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Ann Emerg Med. 2006 Oct;48(4):426-32. Epub 2006 Jun 6.

Approaches to patient health information exchange and their impact on emergency medicine.

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  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA.


Regional health information organizations and electronic health information exchange may have an important impact on the practice of emergency medicine in the United States. Regional health information organizations are local or regional information-sharing networks that enable electronic data interchange among stakeholders in a given geographic area. These stakeholders may include hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, clinics, private physicians' offices, pharmacies, laboratories, radiology facilities, health departments, payers, and possibly the patients themselves. Regional health information organizations are being formed across the country to improve the safety and efficiency of clinical care; improve public health efforts, biosurveillance, and disaster management response; and potentially create large databases of deidentified aggregate data for research. Because of the unique need for rapid access to information and the acuity of the clinical environment, few areas of the health care delivery system stand to change and benefit more from health information exchange than our nation's emergency departments. This article will explain the motivation for the development of regional health information organizations, identify some of the important issues in their formation, and discuss how their development might affect the practice of emergency medicine.

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