Five Health Systems to Share Electronic Health Data

Five health systems in April announced an initiative to securely exchange electronic health data with each other to improve patient care. Executives from Geisinger Health System, Danville, Pa.; Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, Calif.; Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; Intermountain Healthcare, Salt Lake City; and Group Health Cooperative, Seattle, unveiled the Care Connectivity Consortium. "Our five organizations share the common mission of improving health care in the United States and our belief is that when doctors have real-time data about patients, care is better and more effective," says George Halvorson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, which operates the not-for-profit Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals and the Permanente Medical Groups. The five systems are funding the project and the first data exchange, which will use national standards, is planned in the next year. —More information.

Telemedicine Lowers Mortality, Length of Stay in ICUs, Researchers Find

The use of telemedicine in intensive care units lowered mortality rates by 20 percent and cut the average length of stay by 1.26 days, a meta-analysis of 13 studies has found. The meta-analysis was published in the March 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. A shortage of on-site intensivists is prompting ICUs to adopt a combination of videoconferencing, telemetry and electronic medical records to allow off-site intensivists and critical care nurses to help treat critically ill patients, according to MedPage Today. The meta-analysis did not find corresponding decreases in mortality or LOS in hospitals as a whole, MedPage Today reported on March 30, and researchers said more studies are needed to determine the true risks and benefits of telemedicine on both ICU and inhospital mortality and length of stay. —More information.