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ClinicalConnect Exchange Reaches Major Milestones to Improve Patient Care in Western Pa.   

PITTSBURGH, April 11, 2014 – John Luellen, M.D., chief quality officer at Heritage Valley Health System, recalls being the first to use the ClinicalConnect Health Information Exchange (CCHIE) in the hospital’s emergency room late one Sunday evening. During his shift, a patient who’d had a heart transplant came in with a high fever. Luckily, Dr. Luellen was able to use CCHIE to see the patient’s records from UPMC Presbyterian. After consulting with the transplant coordinator, the patient was given antibiotics and sent home until he could be seen by the transplant team at UPMC the next day. In the past, finding such information likely would have required multiple phone calls and faxes, and the patient might have spent the night in the hospital.
 
Since that first experience nearly two years ago, Dr. Luellen and more than 11,000 other users, including doctors, nurses and therapists, from a dozen health care organizations in western Pennsylvania have exchanged more than 1 million clinical documents—a milestone for the state’s largest health information exchange.
 
The result has been better decision-making by doctors, fewer unnecessary tests, and improved care and more convenience for patients. Some now take it for granted that their doctors will have access to their records from other health systems, notes Dr. Luellen. “Patients now say, ‘I was at UPMC Presbyterian last month; why don’t you just pull it up on your computer?’”
 
Announced in August 2011, CCHIE now includes 7.1 million unique patient records in its secure repository, representing 2.1 million patients who have agreed to be part of the exchange. They come from every state in the nation, plus Puerto Rico and Guam. The exchange allows clinicians to have just-in-time access to such key patient information as allergies, medications, lab results, past hospitalizations and post-operative notes.
 
“As we begin our third year of operation, the milestones that we have reached underscore our mission: to enhance the coordination and communication that is crucial to caring for patients in this region,” said Chris Carmody, president of CCHIE. “And soon, we expect to link CCHIE to the federal health information exchange, through the Healtheway collaborative, which will vastly expand our ability to coordinate care with hospitals and clinicians across the nation.”   
 
ClinicalConnect’s current members are the Children’s Institute, Pediatric Alliance, Heritage Valley Health System, Butler Health System, ACMH Hospital, Excela Health, St. Clair Hospital, The Washington Hospital, Presbyterian SeniorCare and UPMC.
 
For more information about CCHIE, visit www.clinicalconnecthie.com.

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