In a move designed to better serve patients across the Delaware border, Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin, Md., made history recently when it joined the Delaware Health Information Network, becoming the first acute care hospital in the nation to join a Health Information Exchange in another state.
According to AGH CFO Cheryl Nottingham, the step comes in response to the rising percentage of patients the hospital and its medical group serves from across the state border in Delaware.
“We’re very pleased to be connected with the Delaware Health Information Network. About 20 percent of the patients we treat in our emergency department are from Delaware, and having access to health information from Delaware hospitals affords another level of care that we can now provide to our patients,” she said.
Some of the patients treated by AGH come from emergency room visits made by people on vacation, while others are Delaware residents who choose to see doctors who practice at the AGH Health System.
“In just the six years since the launch of DHIN, the lines that define physical borders have blurred greatly when it comes to healthcare,” said Dr. Jan Lee, CEO of DHIN. “In some instances, patients become comfortable with a doctor, practice or hospital and develop a loyalty. Sometimes they are referred to a practitioner or specialist across a state line. Sometimes the patient or the doctor moves across the line. However it happens, the inclusion of those records in the patient’s file - regardless of ZIP code - can raise the speed and efficiency in which a patient is treated, and can even save lives.”
More hospitals from outside Delaware are expected to join DHIN in the coming months.
DHIN, the Delaware Health Information Network, is the first live, statewide health information network in the nation. Launched in 2007, today it serves all of Delaware’s acute care hospitals and approaching 100 percent of the state’s medical providers. For more information about DHIN, visit www.DHIN.org or call 302-678-0220. Visit Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @DHIN_hie.
For more information about Atlantic General Hospital, go to www.atlanticgeneral.org.