Maryland’s CRISP: Bringing Health IT into the 21st Century

Maryland physicians striving to provide excellent care for their patients should know that data management tools don’t end at the (fire)walls of their hospital or healthcare practice. The Chesapeake Regional Information System for Patients (CRISP) is designed to impact everyone practicing medicine in the state of Maryland. For everyone from psychiatric counselors to cardiothoracic surgeons, CRISP allows patient data to be securely accessed from any device with internet access. 

So what is CRISP? CRISP actually has two designations: a Health Information Exchange (HIE) and a Regional Health Extension Center (RHEC) for Health IT in the state of Maryland. The main purpose of a statewide HIE is to collaborate with hospital/health care providers to centralize access to patient data. The RHEC is setup to facilitate individual or small practice providers to transition from paper to an electronic health record.

As we all bring health care into the 21st century we must be cognizant that our  tasks go beyond mere patient care. We are constantly collecting, managing, and creating health data.

We are, in the most rapidly changing way, the ultimate managers of health data. From the data we collect at the bedside to lab data we review at our workstations, never has data been gathered, collected or stored in the way it is now.

CRISP has created an HIE repository for patient data that is central and accessible to providers. All health care providers are fully eligible to apply for access to this system. For emergency medicine physicians like myself, CRISP offers access to lab, radiology, consult notes, history/physical, discharge, and medication data with a few clicks. This data is populated from participating hospitals.

CRISP by the numbers includes approximately 48 hospital partners across the state. With data feeds from hospital and non-hospital partners CRISP has over 25 million Lab results, 8 million radiology reports, 4 million clinical documentations.

When dealing with patients who can’t give a history, doesn’t know his/her medications or their radiology/lab result from across the state physicians now have one more tool to manage your data collection process.

Those who do not have an account with CRISP can visit their website: HIEs exist in varying degrees of thoroughness in states and regions throughout the country. In Connecticut, for example, the HIE is called eHealth Connecticut.