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SSM Health and DOD to exchange electronic health record information, enabling SSM Health clinicians to obtain more complete view of DOD patient health
SSM Health announced today that it is enhancing patient safety and care delivery for tens of thousands of U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) employees, dependents, and retirees, thanks to a new relationship that enables electronic patient data exchange with the DOD.
Under the relationship, SSM Health hospitals, physician offices, and other outpatient facilities in Illinois, Missouri, and Oklahoma can securely access patient records of DOD active duty military and civilian employees, retirees and dependents, who receive care at DOD health care facilities in the United States. Similarly, the DOD can now access SSM Health patient records to help deliver better care to patients in DOD facilities.
“Access to these DOD patient records, through our Epic electronic health record platform, enables our physicians and other caregivers to obtain a more complete view of the health history of a patient,” said Richard Vaughn MD, Chief Medical Information Officer for SSM Health. “As a result, we can make faster and better care decisions, avoid duplicating expensive tests, and ensure that our DOD patients receive the safest and best care possible.”
Today’s news further expands SSM Health’s electronic interoperability relationships with the federal government. For the past year, SSM Health has been able to exchange electronic patient records with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) through the Virtual Electronic Health Record (VLER) Program, enabling access to patient records of active and retired military personnel, who receive care at VA health care facilities. The VLER Program exchanges health data using the Veterans Health Information Exchange (VHIE).
SSM Health, the DOD, and the VHIE are members of the eHealth Exchange, a group of federal agencies and non-federal organizations committed to improving public health reporting through the secure, trusted and interoperable exchange of health information.
Now when military and civilian employees, retirees, and their dependents receive care, SSM Health doctors, nurses and other providers can access their patient health records from the DOD and the VA. If the patient returns to a VA or DOD health care facility for care, or receives care from another civilian provider, the patient’s care team can also access the patient’s health records from SSM Health.
In addition, SSM Health established electronic interoperability with the Social Security Administration (SSA) last year as well. Under that relationship, SSM Health electronically transmits complete patient health records to the SSA for assisting the federal agency in processing disability claims. The electronic transmission dramatically reduces the time – from several weeks to as little as a few hours – to receive the medical records needed for the SSA to make determinations for disability claims. As a result, patients can receive their disability benefits much faster.
SSM Health facilities use Epic’s “Care Everywhere” interoperability network, which connects every organization nationwide using the Epic Electronic Health Record (EHR) and has the ability to connect EHRs from up to 50 other vendors. “Care Everywhere” has a built-in connection to the federal eHealth Exchange that SSM Health and the VA, DOD, and SSA use to share information.
“Our hospital, urgent care, and physician office care teams have quick and easy access to patient information from other providers, regardless of where they received that care or what EHR software was used, “ Vaughn said. “Interoperability is not just a buzz word at SSM Health. It’s becoming a way of life and a key method to help us continually create a better patient experience and provide better care.”
About SSM Health SSM Health (ssmhealth.com) is a Catholic, not-for-profit health system serving the comprehensive health needs of communities across the Midwest through one of the largest integrated delivery systems in the nation. With care delivery sites in Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, SSM Health includes 20 hospitals, more than 60 outpatient care sites, a pharmacy benefit company, an insurance company, two nursing homes, comprehensive home care and hospice services, a technology company and two Accountable Care Organizations.
With more than 8,500 physicians and more than 33,000 employees in four states, SSM Health is one of the largest employers in every community it serves. An early adopter of the electronic health record (EHR), SSM Health is a national leader for the depth of its EHR integration.
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