Signature participates in new data exchange

Signature Medical Group is one of two St. Louis-area healthcare providers to collaborate with Surescripts, the nation’s largest pharmacy clearinghouse, in building an electronic data exchange for clinical information.

Signature and SSM Health have joined for an early test in the St. Louis market with links to NextGen and Epic, two of the EHR vendors working with Surescripts.

When the test goes live, the benefits will include more timely sharing of data in a patient’s chart, and reductions in time-consuming phone calls, faxing and data entry.

In the current phase of the program, Signature is the “responder’’ and SSM is the “requestor.’’  SSM providers can execute a search for their patients through Epic, and pull data directly into the Epic chart.

Only structured data is retrieved, including: medications, allergies, vital signs, lab results, immunizations, problem list, medical and surgical history, family history, social history and patient education.  This is the same data that patients can view in their patient portal.

Phase II of the beta pilot will begin in early 2017. Signature providers on NextGen will then be able to request data from Epic pertaining to SSM patients.

The program is receiving national attention. Officials with the department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology were in St. Louis recently to review the progress.

Scott Paneitz, chief information officer at Signature, said Signature “is excited that NextGen is adopting this streamlined, integrated approach to accessing clinical data from hospitals and external sources. We believe our physicians will embrace this timely access of patient information to aid in making the best care decisions possible.”