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A new initiative piloted by five South Jersey hospital systems aims to share patient data and patient-care plans.

The Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers is working with the five-hospital collaborative to aggregate and track their shared data. The collaborative includes Cooper University Health Care, Inspira Health Network, Jefferson Health New Jersey, Lourdes Health System and Virtua.

With the new program, when a patient is admitted, a tailored care plan will pop up next to his name in the electronic system — describing not only previous treatments, but also any specific preferences.

Those preferences could range from simple de-escalation strategies to whether the patient prefers care from a male or female doctor. They could also include more substantive notes such as potential triggers, whether the patient is homeless and medications to avoid.

The health systems began sharing data in 2014 in response to reports of increased mental illness and substance abuse in the region. From the pooled data, the coalition found that between 2010 and 2016, the number of people admitted to hospitals for at least one primary behavioral health diagnosis increased by 40 percent. People who used multiple hospital systems were more likely to have a behavioral health diagnosis, and among those patients who had visited all five hospital systems, 80 percent had at least one behavioral health diagnosis.

 

In the years since tracking began, the region saw a 25 percent increase in patients with at least one behavioral health diagnosis who visited an ER 15 times or more in one year. Right now, each hospital is developing the detailed plans for the patients they see the most before they share them, and they hope to be sharing patient-care plans within a year.

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