Representatives of state and local authorities, professional societies, health systems, hospitals, health information exchanges and private sector companies gathered in Washington last month to discuss the exchange of health data and information between EMS and other healthcare entities.
The summit, hosted by the Federal Interagency Committee on EMS (FICEMS), the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Office of EMS, featured presentations and panel discussions highlighting challenges and opportunities related to bilateral data exchange.
Participants also engaged in conversations about how to remove barriers to the sharing of relevant, accurate and actionable information.
“What we heard loud and clear was that both hospital system and EMS leaders recognize the potential benefits of more timely and accurate information sharing—to both patients, clinicians and the entire healthcare system,” said Jon Krohmer, MD, director of the NHTSA Office of EMS.
In addition to hearing from leaders across the country who have found ways to improve information sharing, summit attendees shared their priorities for making health data better serve patients and clinicians in prehospital, hospital and other healthcare settings.
While technological challenges certainly were on people’s minds, there was also wide agreement that technology was just one of several barriers.
“I look forward to a very exciting future as we continue to overcome some of these obstacles, and I’m really glad that we didn’t just get focused on the technology today, because what I also heard was that it’s not just the technology: it’s the culture, it’s the expectations, and it’s the legal and policy framework,” said Andrew Gettinger, MD, chief clinical officer for the ONC. “We will continue to work to solve problems.”
FICEMS will continue to discuss ways that federal entities can support efforts to better integrate data and create a more seamless, people-centered EMS system, as outlined in EMS Agenda 2050.