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E-RHIT Network

Summary 
  • Need: To provide rural Louisiana ambulance services with the necessary resources to establish electronic patient care reports and participation in both the state trauma registry and the state health information exchange.
  • Intervention: A network was established providing equipment, software, training, data collection, data analysis, and support.
  • Results: EMS Electronic Patient Care Reporting has been implemented, allowing members to participate in a statewide health information exchange system and to provide data for the statewide trauma registry.

Description

In 2011, the Louisiana Emergency Response Network (LERN) and the Louisiana Health Information Exchange (LaHIE) merged to create the Electronic Rural Health Information Technology (E-RHIT) Network. The new network's purpose was to improve healthcare quality and access to care by enhancing ambulance services' collection of data.

Laptop mounted in ambulance E-RHIT currently supports 33 ambulance services through their statewide emergency medical services registry. Many of these services are located in rural areas. Resources are provided for the adoption and use of electronic Patient Care Reporting (ePCR). Ambulance workers use ePCR on site and throughout patient transportation to input data including scene details, patient clinical information, and demographics. Each ambulance service can customize the type of data tracked. Data collected is shared with the destination healthcare facility and incorporated into the patient's Electronic Health Records.

Additionally, the data is included in the statewide trauma registry. Trends in the data can be used to improve service delivery and to identify areas where changes in protocol, process or additional training may be needed. Trends can further inform communities on areas to focus public awareness efforts.

Network partners include:
  • The Louisiana Rural Ambulance Alliance (LRAA)
  • The Louisiana Emergency Response Network (LERN)
  • The Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum
  • The Louisiana Traffic Records Coordinating Committee

E-RHIT is largely funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, including support from a 2011-2013 Rural Health Information Technology Network Development grant.

Services offered

E-RHIT provides the following services to network members:

Classroom session
  • Computer equipment and software
  • Training for staff on how to use software and input data
  • Assistance with template customization
  • Connection to centralized data storage
  • Data collection and analysis
  • Onsite support/recommendations provided by network representatives
  • Ongoing communication via a monthly newsletter

Results

  • Through the computer hardware and software provided, all network members are able to collect and share patient data, manage billing, track inventory, develop reports, and improve quality.
  • The network has developed and employed a National EMS Information System (NEMSIS), a compliant electronic health record template, and data dictionary.
  • Data collected is being used to inform ambulance services on areas for improvement and trends in the causes of accidents.
  • The network has provided the ability to identify areas of disconnect in sharing patient data.
  • Network members have access to information on patient outcomes following provided services. This information allows them to adjust approaches to improve care.

Barriers

Due to limited internet service in rural Louisiana, ambulance services are often unable to connect and relay information to the destination facility when arriving on scene and during transportation. Paramedics are able to enter data immediately, but the data cannot always be accessed until the ambulance is closer to the destination.

In addition, E-RHIT members are concerned about the timeliness of data collection and the accuracy of data input by users.

Replication

Staff training has seen the most success when classroom training was immediately followed by real life application.

Contact Information

Donna Newchurch, Executive Director
Louisiana Rural Ambulance Alliance
985.513.3593
donna@newchurchassoc.com

Topics
Emergency medical services
Health information technology
Healthcare networks

States served
Louisiana

Date added
May 8, 2015

Date updated or reviewed
June 8, 2018


Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.