Delaware breaks ground, transmitting patient records electronically

POSTED IN: Electronic Health Records, Health Information Exchange (HIE), Network Infrastructure

In what’s being billed as a first for the state of Delaware, immunization records from a physician's office have been electronically transmitted successfully to the Division of Public Health through the Delaware Health Information Network (DHIN).

DHIN officials announced the feat Thursday.

“We are very pleased that, for the first time, electronic immunization records were automatically uploaded to the Division of Public Health (DPH) through the Delaware Health Information Network,” said Jan Lee, MD, executive director of DHIN. “This is an important step in eliminating manual reporting and demonstrates that the systems can securely and efficiently share data. We congratulate the P&A Center and the Physician’s Computer Company (PCC) for working with us in completing this important next step."

The Milton, Del.-based Pediatric and Adolescent Center was the first to successfully upload its immunization reports to DPH, using an automated process within its electronic health record (EHR) software.  Other practices are poised to follow suit in the following weeks.

“State law requires that immunizations be reported to the Division of Public Health by every healthcare provider,” said Karyl Rattay, MD, DPH Director. “Until now, that information was prepared and sent manually; often a time-consuming task. With the electronic transfer of these records from the provider, through DHIN to the Immunization Information System, manual entry is eliminated," she added. "This is an important step in reducing costs, increasing efficiency, and meeting federal data requirements.”
 
Launched in 2007, DHIN was one of the first health information exchanges in the nation to go live. More than 9 million clinical results and reports are posted on DHIN each year, and officials say patient records in the system now exceed 1.4 million, including patients from all 50 states.

PCC, which provides the EHR software used by the Pediatric and Adolescent Center, developed the computer interface. New programs were written using the HL7 messaging format, which is the new standard for submitting electronic medical data to public health agencies.
 
According to Lee, DHIN has come a long way in the five years it has been operational.

“Hospitals, medical practices and labs throughout Delaware have come to depend on DHIN’s centralized repository of medical information,” she said. “With the automatic transmission of immunization records to the Division of Public Health, medical practices can save time, and the records will be more accurate than using a tedious, manual system. That means greater efficiency for everyone involved. Now that one practice has a working system, we expect other practices to quickly follow and begin sending their immunization records automatically as well.”
 

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