Health Information Exchange Improves Cornea Donation Process in Colorado

Date: April 26th, 2018Category: CORHIO e-NewsletterTopics: HIE, Care Coordination


Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank to save precious time in cornea donor eligibility review by accessing medical records via CORHIO.

When they receive notice that a cornea donor has passed away, the clock starts ticking for Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank. Their goal is to recover the corneas within eight hours and to have them transplanted within 72 hours. Throughout this process, there are many steps in between to ensure the donor’s corneas are eligible to be transplanted safely into another patient. To speed up and streamline this process, Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank is now using CORHIO’s PatientCare 360® to research the patient’s medical history.

“Because it’s living tissue, we’re under pressure to get corneas recovered and transplanted quickly. Which means we have to run blood tests, do evaluations in our laboratory and thoroughly review the medical record, looking for viruses like Hepatitis or neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s,” says Robert Austin, Manager of Public and Professional Relations at Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank. “If we find something of concern in the record, we have to track down people who can shed some more light on it – a physician, the family, an infectious disease consultant – so the sooner the better.”

New Workflow Also Helps Hospitals and Families

With around 2,500 transplants per year in Colorado and Wyoming, Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank works with a lot of hospitals. In fact, at last count, they coordinate with 111 different hospitals in their service area. These hospitals have different electronic health record systems and different levels of access they give to the eye bank. So being able to log on to CORHIO’s network and access medical records from 65 hospitals is a game changer.

“Prior to having CORHIO, there were many hospital systems we didn’t have access to so we would have to make phone calls and fax requests – and wait,” says Austin. “Sometimes the record was faxed to us through an electronic fax, sometimes they put it on a disc and someone had to go get it, and sometimes they were dropped in the mail, which was a nightmare for us because time is our worst enemy.”

Now with CORHIO’s PatientCare 360 web portal at their fingertips, the Recovery Technicians at Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank can look up a patient’s record and get the eligibility process started much earlier. And they will eliminate many phone calls to hospital nurses to get the patient’s records sent.

“I’ve heard nurses say that when a patient dies, that’s when they’re the most busy – the family is there, donor organizations are calling, the coroner is involved – and they still have living patients to take care of. So the more we can do to lessen the burden on that nurse, the better it is for everybody – including the family. They often have to wait around in the hospital for the nurse to finish those duties.”

Looking Forward to Additional Data

Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank is also looking forward to EMS data, particularly trip sheets, being available to CORHIO users. If a donor dies in an ambulance or an emergency room, their bloodwork has to be evaluated more closely before their corneas can be donated.

“The ambulance trip sheet becomes very important for us because we’re regulated to do a blood test on the donor to make sure certain diseases are not present,” says Austin. “Fluids given in an ambulance or ER can dilute blood and affect test results, so we have to track down exactly how much they received. If we can get that information on a trip sheet, this will save us a ton of time.”

Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank was instrumental in supporting CORHIO’s efforts to get House Bill 1032 passed, which will allow us to obtain EMS trip sheets for secure access in the HIE.