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Caring for the Whole Community: Extending an EHR to a Large County Jail

Harris Health, the public healthcare system for Harris County, which includes most of the Houston metropolitan area, recently began providing healthcare in the Harris County Jail, with clinical staff from Harris Health taking over from the county sheriff’s department. Harris Health saw an opportunity to improve the health of its community by raising the standard of care in the jail, which is the third-largest in the country and regularly houses nearly 10,000 individuals. To prepare for the transition, it used Epic’s Community Connect program to share the same patient records and give clinicians in the jail access to the same tools used in Harris Health’s other facilities. Because many people in the jail have previously been seen at one of Harris Health’s hospitals or clinics, using the same Electronic Health Record (EHR) helps clinicians inside and outside the jail provide more informed care.

How They Did It

  • Extended the EHR to the jail through the Community Connect program
  • Used tools designed for inpatient hospital stays to document care throughout each person’s custody
  • Instituted telehealth visits so cardiologists and neurologists could treat patients remotely
  • Streamlined the registration process so care and documentation could begin right away

Read the full article on EpicShare