The Surescripts Blog

St. Louis-based Health System Embraces Technology to Strengthen Care Coordination

By Kelly Bundy, Senior Product Analyst, Surescripts

A lack of care coordination costs the United States an estimated $148-$226 billion annually,* but these numbers can change for the better. Health systems like SSM Health in St. Louis are implementing new technologies that will dramatically improve care coordination, leading to increased safety, lower costs and higher quality care.

In the video below, Richard Vaughn, MD, Chief Medical Information Officer, and Peter Schoch, MD, Vice President of Value Based Care and Payment at SSM Health, discuss how they’re using Surescripts National Record Locator Service (NRLS) to boost interoperability and care coordination.

NRLS helps health systems unlock safer, higher quality and lower cost healthcare by providing access to patient visit locations and records across all 50 states, regardless of which electronic health records (EHR) software was used and where patient visits occurred. It is the farthest reaching and most robust record locator, covering 230 million patients—20x more than any other service.

“We did not understand how many of our patients were going to many other sites outside of SSM,” said Dr. Vaughn. Because SSM Health didn’t always know where their patients had been seen, they often relied on patient recall to fill in the blanks. To give you a sense of how dispersed their patients’ care is today, here’s a heat map that shows where their patients have received care, and it’s clear it is well outside SSM Health’s locations in Missouri, Oklahoma and Illinois:


Now, thanks to NRLS, SSM Health clinicians can quickly find out which healthcare facilities patients have visited and obtain records from those visits within their EHR workflow. And with access to this actionable intelligence at the point of care, they can create improved care plans and make better-informed medical decisions.

According to Dr. Vaughn, “Once we know they’ve been somewhere else, we can start looking at where they’ve been, and get the information that’s needed from those sites so we can do a better job of taking care of our patients.”

Other health systems are also seeing the value of NRLS. In fact, NRLS is now live across 28 health systems and 12 major metropolitan areas. More than a dozen other health systems have signed on and will deploy NRLS in the near future. The service is also available to ambulatory physician practices who treat patients on an outpatient basis. In order to get connected, ambulatory practices should contact their EHR software provider.

To learn more about how a truly nationwide record locator service breaks down the barriers to interoperability, download our whitepaper, All Healthcare is Not Local: The Human Cost of Disparate Health Data.

 

*Source: Bipartisan Policy Center Health Information Technology Initiative – Accelerating Electronic Information Sharing to Improve Quality and Reduce Costs in Health Care

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