HL7, OASIS publish emergency and disaster response guide

Health Level Seven and OASIS are publishing a joint implementation guide intended to bridge the electronic gap between emergency response and hospital communities.

The purpose of the guide is to improve efforts to provide care for patients needing emergency care, while preparing emergency departments for their patient arrivals.

The guide, “HL7 Version 2.7.1 Implementation Guide: Message Transformations with OASIS Tracking of Emergency Patients (TEP), Release 1” is expected to improve accuracy and timeliness of data exchange between the emergency response community and hospitals, and between care facilities in everyday and disaster situations. It will also eliminate the need to re-enter or duplicate patient information for incoming emergency patients.

Public health response to emergencies relies on rapid and accurate data sharing. Tennessee Department of Health Deputy State Epidemiologist John Dunn said advancements in coordinating activities in a disaster situation could be beneficial.

“We’ve learned in previous responses and exercises that accurate information is critical but hard to acquire when disasters strike,” Dunn said. “We are always looking for improvements in sharing information to benefit our efforts.”

The implementation guide will improve data exchange by providing a mapping between the OASIS Emergency Data eXchange Language (EDXL) TEP 1.1 message, which enables the coordination of patient movement across the continuum of emergency medical care, and the HL7 Version 2 Admit Discharge Transfer (ADT) messaging standard used in the healthcare setting.

Improved data exchange will enable hospitals and emergency departments to track incoming patients from emergency services in the field via existing HL7 conformant systems. When a patient must be transported from a healthcare facility by emergency services to another healthcare facility, such as day-to-day transfers or hospital evacuation, bidirectional data exchange facilitated by the guide enhances continuity of care.

“Emergency medical services are always a team sport: even for one patient, first response and ambulance responders, air medical and extrication crews, and hospital medical directors are involved. In a disaster, the team scales proportionately. This standard enables a common operating picture among all of them, whether there is one patient or a hundred – an everyday event or a thankfully rare one,” said Kevin McGinnis, MPS, Paramedic, Communications Technology Advisor to five national EMS associations.

The implementation guide can be downloaded here.

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