You may know them as electronic health records (EHRs) or electronic medical records (EMRs). Either way, the idea is for doctors to have your health records available electronically, whenever or wherever they need them.

Having your health history at their fingertips helps doctors give you faster, safer and more effective care. At a glance, they can see what medicines you might be taking or are allergic to. They can view lab results so you don’t have to get the same blood test or x-ray over again, saving you time and money. Or imagine rushing to the emergency room where your health records instantly tell the doctor that you have a preexisting heart condition, saving valuable diagnostic time.

EHRs are especially important to help doctors care for those who are uninsured. And now, Adventist HealthCare and the Primary Care Coalition (PCC) are partnering to strengthen the health safety net for the 120,000 low-income, uninsured residents in Montgomery County, Md.  The partnership will develop a Health Information Exchange, or HIE, so that primary care and other specialty providers can provide even better care and outcomes for our community, especially for those most in need, through EHRs.

“For patients, this means access to care throughout the continuum from caregivers who can now more easily share health information to treat chronic conditions,” explains Arumani Manisundaram, Director of the Center for Connected Health and ACES Program at Adventist HealthCare. “This will also make it easier to track the health history of patients from clinic to clinic and, eventually, to hospitals if needed.”

The HIE will connect nine safety-net clinics participating in Montgomery Cares—a public-private partnership, administered by PCC, that provides primary and preventive care to underserved patients. Last year, nearly 25,000 patients received care at the clinics that will use the Adventist HealthCare HIE.