Scripps Health and Sharp HealthCare have recently joined a health information exchange called San Diego Health Connect, a community supported not-for-profit organization which connects hospital systems’ electronic health records.

With the addition of Sharp and Scripps, the number of patient records that could be shared through San Diego Health Connect with patients' consent increases from about 800,000 to more than 2.1 million.

Other participants in the exchange include Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center, UC San Diego Health System, Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego, VA San Diego Healthcare System, Family Health Centers of San Diego and 14 community clinics coordinated through the Council of Community Clinics.

“Sharing information about a patient at the point of care, with the patient’s consent, informs a physician’s decisions about testing and treatment, and it ultimately improves the quality of care,” San Diego Health Connect Executive Director Daniel J. Chavez said in a statement. “Our exchange uses nationally established protocols that adhere to the highest standards for privacy and data security.”

San Diego Health Connect is the successor to the largest of the 17 Beacon Community projects that received a total of $250 million in three-year grants from the Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. Since federal funding ended Sept. 30, San Diego Health Connect has been operational with support from community health care organizations.

— SDBJ Staff Report