Newswise — MAYWOOD, Ill. – In an initiative that will improve patient care, Loyola University Health System has become one of the first health systems in the state to share health information electronically through two record-exchange consortiums.

The information exchange enables Loyola to share a patient’s electronic health information with outside providers such as hospitals, nursing homes, home care agencies and non-Loyola physicians. In turn, a Loyola provider can obtain a patient’s records from outside providers, thus creating a more complete picture of the patient’s condition. Such shared health information can include, for example, records of a patient’s allergies, medications, health history, immunizations, test results, diagnoses, procedures and clinical and hospital visit notes.

Loyola will obtain a patient’s signed consent before sharing health information electronically, and a patient can revoke such consent at any time.

These are among the benefits of exchanging health information electronically:- Doctors will have quicker access to more complete medical histories, allowing for better-informed and safer decisions about patient care.- A patient may not need to complete as many forms each time he or she visits a new doctor.- A patient might not have to take the same medical tests over again. This could help decrease healthcare costs.

Loyola began the electronic exchange of health information June 18 for patients hospitalized at Loyola University Medical Center or Gottlieb Memorial Hospital. (Gottlieb is a member of Loyola University Health System.) In October, Loyola will expand the information exchange to include outpatients.

The electronic exchange of health information will help Loyola improve patient care in its new population health programs. These programs help members stay healthy or cope with chronic diseases that can lead to costly care. The electronic exchange of health information will improve communication and coordination between Loyola and its community partners.