Calif. health district deal would eliminate faxes

Palomar Pomerado Health, the largest public health care district in California, plans to launch a data-distribution system that will eventually eliminate the faxing of medical documents to physicians.

PPH is partially funded through property taxes collected from homeowners in the public health district’s geographic area. A seven-member, publicly elected board governs PPH.

The organization has tapped Novo Innovations, a vendor of health information exchange software, to improve data sharing with its physician practices. The San Diego-based health care delivery system will initially use the technology to deliver electronic results and reports, including admission/discharge/transfer data in the form of face sheets, transcriptions, and the results of radiology, pathology and lab tests.

Novo will provide its agent-based software, which integrates with physicians’ electronic medical record systems. Software residing at PPH will send data to the agent software, which will translate it for use with a given EMR system. For PPH, a key requirement was to boost information exchange with the widest number of EMRs in the community, according to Novo.

The company’s system also lets PPH share data with practices that don’t have EMRs. In those situations, Novo’s Web-based drop box functions as a remote printing facility, said Robert Connely, Novo’s chief executive officer. It provides better management than a fax, he added.

“The drop box captures and organizes the necessary information for printing to the patient’s chart,” Connely said.

“The agent-based software looks like a portal and is accessed through an interface so the provider can select which patient reports to print,” he added.

This year, PPH plans to go live with four EMR beta sites and two to four drop-box beta sites.

“Over the next couple years, we will completely phase out faxing and connect all affiliated physician practices to the Novo health care grid,” said Dr. Ben Kanter, chief of staff at Pomerado Hospital and chief medical information officer at PPH. “When we accomplish this, we will have more than 60 medical groups and 700 physicians electronically interfaced with the hospital.”

About the Author

John Moore is a freelance writer based in Syracuse, N.Y.

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