During a motorcycle ride last year, 70-year-old John Dalton started having symptoms of a heart attack.
“I couldn’t catch my breath and knew something was wrong,” said Dalton.
When paramedics arrived on scene, Dalton’s vital signs and electrocardiogram (ECG) were transferred electronically to UC San Diego Health System’s emergency room.
“The team was aware of his medical condition before he even came through our ED doors,” said Ted Chan, MD, medical director of the emergency department at UC San Diego Health System and San Diego Beacon Community Project leader. “The technology out in the field made for a more efficient, coordinated workflow in all aspects of Mr. Dalton’s care.”
One of Chan’s main focuses as an emergency physician is health information exchange (HIE), and his work in this area landed him at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue this week. He was one of 82 representatives from across the nation recognized by the White House and Health and Human Services (HHS) in Washington, D.C. Chan was one of four panelists asked to speak about the successes and challenges around the implementation of health IT. He also discussed how programs, like the Beacon Community Project, play an important role in moving the United States toward an electronically-enabled health care system.
“I came away from the panel realizing there are several challenges to implementing health IT and electronic records across the country, but we are beginning to see the benefits of this initiative, and San Diego is ahead of the game,” said Chan.
The HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) is providing $250 million over the next three years through the Beacon Community Project to 17 selected communities throughout the nation that have already made advances in HIE.
Each of the Beacon communities, with its unique population and regional context, is actively working to strengthen HIE capabilities, translate investments in health IT to measurable improvements in cost and patient care quality and develop new, innovative approaches to implementing technology in the health care setting.
Dalton, a grandfather, says he is forever grateful for health care technology as he continues to enjoy retirement feeling better than ever.
“It saved my life – no doubt about it,” said Dalton.
To learn more about the San Diego Beacon Community Project or to hear John Dalton’s personal story, please visit: http://www.sandiegobeacon.org/