I don’t know about you, but I was thrilled to hear about today’s launch of MEDS-ED Link, a project of the Northern Virginia Regional Health Information Organization (NoVaRHIO) in conjunction with Inova Health System and GE Healthcare.

The net result of this collaboration is that emergency physicians at Inova Alexandria Hospital will have access to medication histories created outside of the hospital within minutes of a patient’s arrival. This two-year pilot, funded by NoVaRHIO and supported in part with a grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia, is an impressive first step toward a fully-realized health information exchange (HIE) in northern Virginia. If all goes well, NoVaRHIO will be adding other hospitals and hospital systems to the MEDS-ED Link project moving forward and incorporating lab and radiology data into the medical history report.

This project is not only a proof point of what played out at the Interoperability Showcase at HIMSS – that integrations between hospital IT systems are happening now and are the first step toward making HIEs a reality. It also speaks to the importance of focusing first on the ED, where patients and physicians are under the most pressure and stress and where the documentation process beings as patients flow to other departments throughout the hospital.

Kudos to all those involved in the MEDS-ED Link project – and a special congrats to Inova’s CIO Geoff Brown, a friend of the Picis family who helped champion this project and many others that have made a significant impact on health care delivery across Inova hospitals. Stay tuned for more from us on HIEs in the months ahead!

- Dr. Mark Crockett