Submission Type

Case Study


care coordination, health information exchange, notifications


Purpose: In a health care system where patients often have numerous providers and multiple chronic medical conditions, interoperability of health information technology (HIT) is of paramount importance. Regional health information organizations (RHIO) often provide a health information exchange (HIE) as a solution, which gives stakeholders access to clinical data that they otherwise would not otherwise have. A secondary use of preexisting HIE infrastructure is clinical event notification (CEN) services, which send automated notifications to stakeholders. This paper describes the development and implementation of a CEN service enabled by a RHIO in the New York metropolitan area to improve care coordination for patients enrolled in a geriatric emergency department care coordination program.

Innovation: This operational CEN system incorporates several innovations that to our knowledge have not been implemented previously. They include the near real-time notifications and the delivery of notifications via multiple pathways: electronic health record (EHR) “in-baskets,” email, text message to internet protocol-based “zone” phones, and automated encounter entry into the EHR. Based on these alerts the geriatric care coordination team contacts the facility where the patient is being seen and offers additional information or assistance with disposition planning with the goal of decreasing potentially avoidable admissions and duplicate testing.

Findings: During the nearly one-year study period, the CEN program enrolled 5722 patients and sent 497 unique notifications regarding 206 patients. Of these notifications, 219 (44%) were for emergency department (ED) visits; 121 (55%) of those notifications were received during normal business hours when the care coordination team was available to contact the ED where the patient was receiving care. Hospital admissions resulted from 45% of ED visits 17.8% of these admissions lasted 48 hours or less, suggesting some might potentially be avoidable.

Conclusions and Discussion: This study demonstrates the potential of CEN systems to improve care coordination by notifying providers of the occurrence of specific events. Although it could not directly be demonstrated here, we believe that widespread use of CEN systems have potential to reduce potentially avoidable admissions and duplicate testing, likely leading to decreased costs.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.