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EMS Uses ICare System to Improve Coordination of Care

Posted on 20 June, 2014

Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services (ATCEMS) is a municipal public safety department serving the citizens of Austin and Travis County. The primary mission of ATCEMS is to provide high quality, compassionate care that is patient centered and makes every effort to address the needs of our community and its citizens. One way ATCEMS addresses unique patient needs and challenges is through the Community Health Paramedic Program. Trefcarventseatag This program is comprised of a small team of paramedics, trained to proactively engage patients in the community with complex issues, identify barriers to health care and navigate them to the most appropriate services available. Many of these patients have chronic health conditions that are best treated by preventative and ongoing care, yet utilize emergency health care services, such as an ambulance and/or the emergency room.

Collaboration with key health care services is paramount to the CHP Program’s ability to best serve patients and the ICare Health Information Exchange (HIE) provides Program staff crucial information in a rapid manner, wherever Community Health Paramedics may be, even at a patient’s home. The ICare (HIE) is a key tool utilized by Community Health Paramedics to identify agencies already involved with the patient’s health care and coordinate efforts to more effectively impact a patient’s overall health and wellbeing. This prevents duplication of efforts, reduces the time it takes to determine what services may or may not benefit the patient and provides the opportunity for agencies to leverage resources and integrate care.

ATCEMS also contributes information and data to the ICare HIE, providing valuable information to other health care providers in the region and allowing those providers to have a more comprehensive understanding of the patient’s involvement with other health care services and make decisions that benefit the whole patient.

In a changing health care system, where coordinating efforts across the continuum of care is vital to delivering more patient focused, efficient and effective care, the ICare HIE has provided the Community Health Paramedic Program at Austin-Travis County EMS a new capability to integrate with the local health care community not typically seen elsewhere.