Thursday, November 12, 2009

Simple, Low-Cost, Secure Health Data Exchange

The following diagram presents our novel, economical way to exchange patient health information, from anywhere, easily and securely. The system uses Microsoft Office to send comprehensive patient data between clinicians, via e-mail, with just a few mouse-clicks. This convenient, easy to use system does not require additional hardware and works with any other software programs.

The system can be used in many ways[1]. The process for sending referral information between a primary care physician (PCP) and one or more specialists, for example, is shown below: Œ After the PCP selects a patient, the specialist(s) to receive the referral and the reason for it, the referral data are automatically retrieved from his/her EMR.  The data are then automatically sent to each specialist via an encrypted e-mail attachment. Ž Once the referral is received, each specialist automatically sends a reply back to the PCP with a few mouse-clicks.  After reviewing each reply, the PCP, with a one mouse-click, automatically sends patient data to each appropriate specialist in a continuity of care document (CCD).  A couple of mouse-clicks by the specialist and the CCD is automatically displayed. The CCD data may then be loaded automatically into his/her EMR or EHR.

What Makes the System Unique

The system employs the patented CP Split™ software method to assemble the data in an organized (meaningful/logical) way using electronic containers ("objects"). It's like arranging a child's building blocks according to some thoughtful plan. But instead of actual blocks (physical containers), a grid template software program is used, which consists of electronic containers into which data, from any sources, are organized sensibly and efficiently in preplanned structures. Step 1 (below) shows sample data for patient John Jones in the grid software.

The software program can not only present the data in the grid (as per step 4), but it can also share any of the data. It does the data sharing by automatically taking the data from the grid template and storing them in a simple encrypted data file, which it attaches to an e-mail and sends to a collection of trusted partner recipients (as per Step 2). When the e-mail arrives, each recipient's software program automatically decrypts the data file and extracts the data it contains. Next, it copies those data to the recipient's corresponding grid template, which are organized according to the same preplanned structure (as per Step 3). It then rapidly presents those data in dynamic (interactive) reports by performing any required analyse[2], adding the labels, and and formatting the data—based on their grid locations—in a way that assures the resulting information is readily understandable and useful to each recipient (as per Step 4). Furthermore, the software can easily update the data as needed, as well as exchange the data with other software systems and databases. This unique (patented) process minimizes complexity and cost, while maximizing convenience, security, usability and interoperability[3].


[1] Ways the system can be used include: (a) automating the patient referral process; (b) sharing patient data between personal health records (PHRs); electronic medical records (EMRs), and electronic health records (EHRs; (c) exchanging health data within and between health organizations and exchanges (e.g., RHIOs and HIEs); and (d) delivering de-identified data to research and public health databases.

[2] Analyses may include logical (e.g., if-then-else) and mathematical (e.g., statistical) operations to provide useful information in a report that goes beyond the raw data. In the sample report above, a simple example of such analysis is coloring the patient’s age (55) red because he is older than 50. And in the blood pressure graph, levels that are too high are colored red, otherwise green.

[3] Interoperability is the ability of a software system to work with other systems without special effort on the part of the end-user.

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