Newsline Sequoia Project’s PULSE aims to get patient records to emergency healthcare workers in disaster areas; CMS pumps up plan to improve rural HIT, feds promise to promote interoperability
Sequoia Project effort underscores need to get information to doctors during crises.
A new initiative from the Sequoia Project, working with multiple healthcare industry stakeholders, aims to get electronic health records to emergency medical professionals and healthcare providers, regardless of where patients and evacuees are being treated when a disaster strikes.
The initiative aims to build the Patient Unified Lookup System for Emergencies, or PULSE, modeled after a demonstration program in California.
The effort, led by Sequoia, which operates the eHealth Exchange nationwide network to securely share clinical information using a standardized process, is getting financial and technical support from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, the California Association of Health Information Exchanges, research firm Mitre and an advisory council for PULSE.
“PULSE is a public-private collaborative to ensure our cities, counties and states are ready for when the next disaster strikes,” says Mariann Yeager, CEO at Sequoia. “There are always going to be disasters, and we are always seeking new ways to help people affected.” As help starts arriving following a disaster, PULSE will authenticate EMS personnel, physicians, physician assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists and other emergency workers, such as registration clerks and those who set up field hospitals and evacuation centers, so patient continuity of care documents can be shared to inform the best treatment options for patients during the emergency.
Sequoia’s role in the program is to support a broader deployment of PULSE. The organization has a presence across all 50 states serving the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, CMS and Social Security Administration. □