On Tuesday, California health officials announced the state will receive a federal grant worth $2.75 million over two years to bolster the exchange of health information around emergency services.
The grant to the Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) will be used to improve information exchange during a disaster and in daily emergency medical services.
California is one of 12 states to receive support for the emergency services improvement plan through the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.
“We will have a system that will not only allow us to provide better patient care in the field, but will also collect data to track the impacts on the [emergency medical services] system and patient outcomes,” said Howard Backer, director of EMSA, in a written statement.
Agency officials said the federal money will go to three specific projects:
- Connecting health information organizations so providers can more easily access patients’ health records during a natural disaster;
- Developing the technological infrastructure so emergency service providers, on a daily basis, can have patient information at hand, and transmit patient information ahead to emergency departments; and
- Forming an advisory committee to make sure advances in information exchange are shared among emergency services providers. The committee will include a wide range of tech and clinical components — HIE experts, emergency services agencies, hospitals, consumers and ambulance providers.
EMSA’s health information exchange project sprung from the federal funding in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009, also known as the HITECH Act.