News Feature | June 3, 2016

SSM Health Becomes First To Adopt Surescripts National Record Locator Service

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Medical Records Dumping Case

NRLS breaks down barriers to truly connected healthcare with information sharing in real-time.

The Department of Health and Human Services has set a goal of interoperability by 2024, stating the flow of information is fundamental to improving the overall quality of healthcare. In fact, achieving interoperability remains the Holy Grail of HIT. One important piece of the interoperability puzzle is the successful, real-time sharing of EHRs and other personal health information that can facilitate optimal treatment in the moment.

Those in healthcare are aware of the important role information sharing can play in improving patient care. In fact, CHIME signed the HHS pledge to improve information sharing stating it will work closely with the federal government and other industry stakeholders to implement three core principles designed to improve health information exchange, as Health IT Outcomes reported.

Now, as part of a move towards seamless, real-time exchange of patient information, SSM Health, a Catholic not-for-profit health system based in St. Louis, MO has become the first organization to go live with Surescripts National Record Locator Service (NRLS).

The service, which was announced earlier this year, provides more than 10,000 SSM Health clinicians across Illinois, Missouri, and Oklahoma a secure and effective way to locate patient records and use the Epic EHR to gain a more comprehensive view of a patient’s health, regardless of where the patient received care.

The NRLS covers two billion patient interactions for 140 million patients nationwide, meaning physicians at SSM Health can view records for their patients across all the hospitals and clinics they have visited to help them retrieve critical information to improve the safety and quality of care. This transparency of care helps ensure doctors do not miss vital information that could have adverse effects on their patients.

“When a patient arrives in one of our emergency departments, urgent care clinics or physician’s offices, NRLS enables the care team to access valuable clinical information from other providers who have previously treated the patient, regardless of where they received care or the EHR software used,” said Richard Vaughn, MD, Chief Medical Information Officer for SSM Health. “By having a more complete care history, we can make faster and better decisions, avoid reordering expensive tests and help ensure that our patients receive the best care possible.”