Making the County’s Electronic Health Technology User-Friendly and Cost Effective

HIEWith the goal of improving patient care, the Board of Supervisors is looking at integrating various systems used for electronically exchanging health records among Los Angeles County agencies and their private partners in the community.

“As more information systems and tools evolve to address the needs of the County’s patients, it is imperative that the County streamline, link, consolidate and integrate these various systems to ensure the highest efficiency and simplicity for the County and community health care providers who will use them,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said in a motion unanimously approved by the Board. “Otherwise, providers will need to tap into multiple systems with multiple authentications to log on.”

Over the last five years, the County has implemented various innovations to make health technology more user-friendly, cost-effective and secure. This includes participating in the Los Angeles Network for Enhanced Services (LANES), a non-profit organization that exchanges electronic health information cost-effectively and securely among public and private healthcare providers.

The County also created “eConsult,” a web-based system that allows primary care physicians to collaborate with specialists on the care of their patients; and implemented a new Online Real-time Centralized Health Information Database (ORCHID) for the Department of Health Services (DHS) that can sync with similar systems used in the County’s jail and juvenile court health systems.

Further innovations may be under way, as the Board in April called for a comprehensive study on how to integrate all of the County’s personal health, mental health and public health electronic health record systems into a single platform so that one County record will exist for each individual County-served patient. This approach would give appropriate County employees a single portal to access, share and update electronic health, mental health and public health clinical records in real time.

“Keeping up with technology is essential to providing excellent health care,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “We should constantly explore new technologies not to only address a specific need, but to achieve the most efficient and cost effective health information exchange.”