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Slide Presentation from the AHRQ 2007 Annual Conference

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Sharing a Clinical Abstract: Privacy Considerations in Minnesota

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Donald P. Connelly, MD, PhD
Daniel T. Routhe, BBA University of Minnesota
AHRQ 2007 Annual Meeting September 27, 2007


The lack of timely transfer of essential clinical information is a major barrier to effective care transitions and can lead to redundant work, conflicting recommendations, errors, and patient confusion and distress. To lessen information gaps, three partnering healthcare systems, Allina, Fairview and HealthPartners, set out to develop an implementation plan for exchanging an electronic health record (EHR) abstract at the time a patient in transition presents. The organizations had successfully collaborated on many QI initiatives and had independently selected the same EHR vendor, Epic Systems Corp. Patient safety, medical, and information technology leaders developed a plan to exchange a clinical record abstract to improve information transfer during care transitions. A high priority clinical focus was selected (i.e., heart failure) to allow a careful evaluation of the clinical value of clinical information sharing. A comprehensive implementation proposal that led to a recent AHRQ grant award was completed in 6.5 months. This project meshes well with the nation's focus on interconnecting healthcare organizations to support health information exchange which may be the key that unlocks the value of HIT in terms of enhancing healthcare quality and patient safety.  Early achievements suggest that this project will be an important catalyst for improving our community's standard of care.

Donald P. Connelly, M.D., Ph.D. is Professor and Head of the University of Minnesota's Health Informatics Division. His research has focused on clinical decision making and the development of information technology tools that clinicians choose to use in support of their patient care activities. He obtained MD and PhD degrees from the University of Minnesota.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics, a founding member of the American Medical Informatics Association, and a member of the Minnesota e-Health Initiative Advisory Committee. He is the Principal Investigator of the AHRQ Implementation Grant awarded to Allina, Fairview and HealthPartners in October, 2005 which focuses on sharing clinical record information among the health systems to support care transitions.

Daniel Routhe, BBA has more than 20 years of information technology experience and has led teams of up to 25 members that have successfully worked across both corporate and business unit boundaries. This experience serves as a backdrop for his current role as AHRQ project coordinator.  Since 2005, Dan has worked closely with Allina, Fairview and HealthPartners to advance the project: A Community-shared Clinical Abstract to Improve Care.  Dan represented the AHRQ project at two Minnesota Privacy and Security Project (MPSP) work groups -- Patient Privacy and 4A—and their invaluable work has been used to move the project forward.

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