SAFEHealth, the Secure Architecture For Exchanging Health Information, is a consent-enabled Health Information Exchange (HIE) currently operational in central Massachusetts. With the consent of patients, clinical information follows the patient as they seek care from different healthcare providers. SAFE Health has many unique features which differentiate it from other Health Information Exchanges. It integrates the capture of patient consents and the delivery of patient information with the standard healthcare practice workflows in order to increase the acceptance and utilization of the system. Built without a central clinical data repository, SAFE Health keeps a patient's clinical data safely stored behind the security firewalls of their healthcare providers.
Research has shown that the more a doctor knows about a patient's medical history, the better care he or she can provide. Typically less than 50% of patient care occurs in the primary care physician's office, so when patients require medical attention outside of that facility, it is important that the treating physician be as well informed about their patient's health as possible. Similarly, when patients see their primary care physician for follow-up, this physician should know the results of test that were performed and treatment plans. SAFE Health was carefully developed to address this situation.
Founded by Reliant Medical Group, Fallon Community Health Plan and HealthAlliance Hospital (a member of the UMass Memorial Health Care System), SAFE Health is a community health information exchange system that allows real-time sharing of patients’ health records between a patient's physicians in order to improve patient safety, quality of care, and efficiency of healthcare delivery. It ensures that the treating physician has access to their patient's updated medical history, and can immediately screen for drug interactions, existing medical conditions and other concerns. In some situations, access to this important information could be life-saving. SAFE Health uses advanced technology to securely connect clinical data and information systems among individual healthcare organizations. This enables clinicians to appropriately and quickly access a patient’s medical records in emergency and walk-in settings. This access can reduce errors and enhance care.
From its conception, SAFE Health has been carefully designed to protect patient privacy. There is no central storage of clinical data. SAFE Health utilizes state-of-the-art methods that allow participating healthcare entities in Central Massachusetts to quickly share vital clinical information only with the patient's permission. It is a highly secure system designed to preserve patient privacy. In addition, other safety factors including data encryption are used for protection.
Currently, SAFE Health is in its first phase of implementation with Reliant Medical Group and UMass Memorial Healthcare System’s HealthAlliance Hospital Leominster campus Emergency Room exchanging clinical information with patient consent. Over the next few years, other healthcare organizations in central Massachusetts will be added to the network.
Nationwide, ~2 million potentially adverse events occur each year due to inadequate communication when patients are discharged from the hospital.
Physicians in Emergency Departments lack important medical information on their patients ~30% of the time.
Nationwide, ~150,000 preventable adverse drug reactions occur each year at the time of hospital admission due to inadequate knowledge of outpatient medication history. Treating these preventable adverse reactions costs ~$8 Billion annually.