Sandlot's Texas Health Information Exchange Reaches 1.5 Million Patients

Sandlot's health information exchange hits its goal of 1.5 million EMRs in Texas to work toward continuity of care.

Sandlot, a health care IT company in Fort Worth, Texas, has announced that its SandlotConnect Health Information Exchange database of Electronic Medical Records now includes 1.5 million patient records.

HIE databases allow physicians, hospitals and clinics to share medical records from various providers and public health authorities to analyze population data to improve community health.

Pulling patient information from multiple providers also allows physicians to avoid duplicate medical procedures, according to Sandlot.

Sandlot chose the goal of 1.5 million since that was the population of its county, Tarrant, in Texas, Telly Shackelford, Sandlot's CEO, told eWEEK. Sandlot introduced SandlotConnect in December 2008.

"There's a high probability that if you're a patient in Terrant county, if you go to one of our patient providers, you're information will follow you," Shackelford said.

Sandlot is a division of North Texas Specialty Physicians. Its HIE now has 1.5 million patients among five counties in Texas, Sandlot announced on Nov. 3. In addition to Tarrant, the counties include Dallas, Erath, Johnson and Parker.

"The ability to provide this scale of connectivity between providers and their patients' records anywhere in the system is truly a milestone," Shackelford said in a statement. "This demonstrates that doctors trust our exchange and know they can rely on SandlotConnect to easily store, retrieve and share patient data."

EMR systems need HIEs such as SandlotConnect so that physicians can share data and provide continuity of care. Doctors can look up information such as test results and medication histories.

Fields in the HIE's patient summary include problem code, description (such as hyperthyroidism or backache), date diagnosed, procedures and allergies.

The shared information could be valuable if a specialist needs to access information provided by a primary care physician or other specialists.

Within SandlotConnect, users can access medical records from seven Texas hospitals, two national laboratories, two radiology groups, three EMR databases and two e-prescribing products, Sandlot reports.

Physicians who lack access to an EMR database can still use SandlotConnect's Web portal to retrieve patient information. The service is used by physicians, labs, pharmacy clearinghouses and e-prescribing networks, the company reports.

"Physicians must have access to relevant clinical information at any time at any site of care to improve the quality of health care," said Dr. Thomas M. Deas, Jr., chief medical officer at Sandlot and a practicing gastroenterologist, in a statement. "We have achieved this goal in a very short time because of the accessibility, ease of use and early adoption of SandlotConnect."

"It matches the real-world workflow of a physician's practice, and it provides a single view of all critical information about patients so physicians can make more informed decisions, faster," Deas said.

On July 14, Verizon Business unveiled its cloud-based Verizon Health Information Exchange, which translates data from 14 to 18 major health care standards using Oracle Healthcare Transaction Base software.

IBM also introduced its HIE platform at HIMSS10 on March 1. IBM's Initiate Exchange offers HIE and powers the CareSpark HIE for the central Appalachian region.

Initiate Exchange features a master patient index that allows health professionals to access up-to-date patient information at the point of care.