Virginia’s Emergency Department Care Coordination program launched by ConnectVirginia HIE contributed to a dip in opioid-related deaths in the state.
Opioid-related fatalities have declined in Virginia for the first time in six years after the state launched its Emergency Department Care Coordination program with help from the ConnectVirginia health information exchange.
Virginia hospitals are using EDCC to promote safer opioid prescribing practices, according to NBC12.
Fatal opioid overdoses in Virginia increased from 572 in 2012 to 1,230 in 2017. However, in 2018, opioid-related deaths declined to 1,213, according to preliminary stats from the Virginia Department of Health.
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Charles Frazier, MD, Senior Vice President at Riverside Health System, told NBC12 he and other medical practices across the state have been prescribing opioids in a more controlled manner since the launch of EDCC.
EDCC was established in 2017 by the General Assembly as part of an effort to provide Virginia providers and patients with a single, statewide health IT solution connecting all hospital emergency departments.
The system facilitates real-time communication between clinicians, care managers, and personnel for patients receiving care in hospital emergency departments. The Virginia Department of Health contracted ConnectVirginia to create, operate, maintain, and administer the EDCC program.
“The purpose of the EDCC is to integrate alerts,” Frazier told NBC12. “It shows us alerts of whether or not they have been in other emergency departments, information on how they were treated, with the idea being if a patient came in: Who is their primary care doctor? Who can we connect them to?”
All hospitals were required to submit a year or two of historical patient visit data to the EDCC program by June 2017 as part of the first phase of the program.
“The system is set up to alert emergency department providers and staff if the patient is a frequent emergency department patient, and also if they have been aggressive or abusive to staff,” Frazier said.
Phase two of the EDCC program was launched in July. The second phase of the program prompted clinicians to notify primary care providers when their patients show up in the emergency department.
“One thing we are starting to see are health systems collaborate on patients,” Frazier said. “There was a patient at Bon Secours who kept going to various emergency departments around Richmond – VCU, St. Francis, and others. With the EDCC program, they could see where they had been to, and the health systems worked together, along with the insurance company, to help the patient get the primary care they needed.”
The EDCC program also integrates directly into Virginia’s prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) and advanced healthcare directive registry.
Policymakers in Virginia predicted the program would help to reduce opioid-related deaths since the initial launch.
“Virginia continues to be at the forefront of health care innovation, and the ED Care Coordination Program marks an important step forward in making sure Virginians in every part of the Commonwealth have access to the highest quality of care,” said Virginia Governor Ralph Northam in August 2018.
“With this secure technology, we can provide emergency medical personnel with access to a patient’s critical medical information in a timely way, which will increase effective and efficient care, avoid duplicative tests, reduce unnecessary costs, and improve health outcomes,” Northam continued.
The State Employee Health Plan, non-ERISA commercial, and Medicare health plans within the Commonwealth plan to join the EDCC program by June 30, 2019. These entities will also begin receiving alerts and gain the ability to contribute patient health information to the exchange for improved care coordination.
Date: May 07, 2019
Source: EHR Intelligence