July 25, 2016

St. Joseph Medical Center Invests in Patient Safety and Care Quality

St. Joseph Medical Center (SJMC) announced that it is live in Greater Houston Healthconnect’s (Healthconnect) regional health information exchange, which enables physicians at SJMC to access prior medical records for their patients from other participating organizations in the exchange. SJMC’s membership in the health information exchange underscores the hospital’s commitment to patient safety and excellent patient outcomes.

Interoperability of patient records will also further SJMC’s partnerships with area clinics and health centers, contributing to enhanced continuity of care for their mutual patients. SJMC receives numerous referrals and transfers from community partners in any given week and patients often arrive without care summaries from their previous provider. By utilizing Healthconnect’s community health record, which includes data from all the network’s participants, physicians at SJMC will be able to pick up relevant clinical information pertinent to the patient’s visit. Information available to providers includes prior diagnoses, medications, procedures, lab results, imaging reports and discharge summaries.

Nick Bonvino, CEO for Healthconnect, highlighted a specific use case of care coordination. “Long-time Healthconnect participant Legacy Community Health (LCH) refers numerous obstetrical patients to SJMC each month for delivery. The two organizations are now collaborating on better transitions of care, leveraging information from each setting. SJMC obstetricians have LCH prenatal PHI when patients present in the ED, and LCH physicians gain immediate feedback about the health outcomes of the mother and baby, including statistics such as birth weight.”

SJMC’s CEO Mark Bernard shared the importance of access to a patient’s longitudinal health record, “St. Joseph works to maintain a tradition of quality patient care, serving Houstonians for over 125 years. The health information exchange gives us an opportunity to enhance our commitment to quality by having a more complete view of our patients’ medical histories when they arrive. This is most critical when patients come to us through the emergency room under duress. Some might not remember to share everything about the medications they’re on or chronic conditions they may have. Healthconnect will help us to better identify potential complications or mitigating factors in their care, which is critical to their safety.”