Glendale's three hospitals this week took the next step toward building a system to share important patient information, a step they say can be vital if a non-responsive patient arrives in the emergency room and no medical background on them is available.
The Glendale Healthier Community Coalition held its second meeting on Tuesday to gauge local interest in establishing a health-information exchange.
An exchange is a technical framework that would share patients' electronic medical records among healthcare providers.
Bruce Nelson, director of community services at Glendale Adventist Medical Center, led an input-gathering meeting with about 15 healthcare representatives, including local physicians and staff members from Glendale Memorial and USC Verdugo Hills hospitals.
The group also heard a presentation from Chad Baugh, a representative from Allscripts, a company that provides electronic records solutions, about the successes of a health information exchange the company helped build in western Pennsylvania.
Harlan Gibbs, director of the emergency department at Glendale Adventist, said one problem facing Glendale hospitals is the size of the area from which they draw patients.
"L.A. has a lot of hospitals. I know you need to start somewhere, but we need L.A. City and County data as well," Gibbs said. "Right now, there is no sharing at all, and that's a tragedy."
Nelson said 30% of readmitted patients at Glendale Adventist come from other hospitals, highlighting the importance of sharing information necessary for their care.
Another issue is that only 25% of Glendale's doctors are using an electronic health-records system, compared to 50% nationwide, Nelson said.
The idea for an exchange was first presented at a meeting of the coalition — which includes hospitals and health-care providers throughout the city — in May, and was further defined at a meeting last month.
Nelson said after the meeting that the next step is deciding the specific health issues the system should share. That is expected to be discussed at a meeting in September after the coalition gathers information about available funding.