Virginia has launched a program to connect all the state’s emergency departments to ensure patient data can be shared in near real time.

The communication and collaboration platform—called Emergency Department Care Coordination (EDCC) Program—is the first of its kind in the country to link EDs statewide, according to Governor Ralph Northam’s office, which made the announcement on Tuesday. The initiative also integrates the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program and the Advance Healthcare Directive Registry.

“Virginia continues to be at the forefront of healthcare innovation, and the ED Care Coordination Program marks an important step forward in making sure Virginians in every part of the Commonwealth have access to the highest quality of care,” said Northam in a written statement. “With this secure technology, we can provide emergency medical personnel with access to a patient’s critical medical information in a timely way, which will increase effective and efficient care, avoid duplicative tests, reduce unnecessary costs and improve health outcomes.”

Utah-based Collective Medical Technologies is the vendor for the data-sharing platform. Last year, the Virginia General Assembly established the EDCC Program within the Virginia Department of Health, which contracts with ConnectVirginia—the statewide health information exchange—to operate the EDCC Program.

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“Near real-time, up-to-date information in an emergency department can assist health care providers in so many ways, from treating patients with chronic disease to knowing what medications to avoid prescribing to a patient with allergies,” says Secretary of Health and Human Resources Daniel Carey. “When you have the right care and the right information in the right setting, you are able to make the best decision for the individual patient.”

By the end of June 2019, the EDCC Program plans to include the State Employee Health Plan and all non-ERISA commercial and Medicare health plans operating in Virginia, as well as other “downstream providers” such as primary care physicians, case managers, nursing homes, community service boards, private behavioral health providers and Federally Qualified Health Centers.

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