Enabling health information exchange at a US Poison Control Center

J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2020 Jul 1;27(7):1000-1006. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocaa055.


Objective: The objective of this project was to enable poison control center (PCC) participation in standards-based health information exchange (HIE). Previously, PCC participation was not possible due to software noncompliance with HIE standards, lack of informatics infrastructure, and the need to integrate HIE processes into workflow.

Materials and methods: We adapted the Health Level Seven Consolidated Clinical Document Architecture (C-CDA) consultation note for the PCC use case. We used rapid prototyping to determine requirements for an HIE dashboard for use by PCCs and developed software called SNOWHITE that enables poison center HIE in tandem with a poisoning information system.

Results: We successfully implemented the process and software at the PCC and began sending outbound C-CDAs from the Utah PCC on February 15, 2017; we began receiving inbound C-CDAs on October 30, 2018.

Discussion: With the creation of SNOWHITE and initiation of an HIE process for sending outgoing C-CDA consultation notes from the Utah Poison Control Center, we accomplished the first participation of PCCs in standards-based HIE in the US. We faced several challenges that are also likely to be present at PCCs in other states, including the lack of a robust set of patient identifiers to support automated patient identity matching, challenges in emergency department computerized workflow integration, and the need to build HIE software for PCCs.

Conclusion: As a multi-disciplinary, multi-organizational team, we successfully developed both a process and the informatics tools necessary to enable PCC participation in standards-based HIE and implemented the process at the Utah PCC.

Keywords: Health information exchange; health information interoperability; patient care; poison control centers; workflow.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Health Information Exchange* / standards
  • Health Level Seven
  • Humans
  • Poison Control Centers / organization & administration*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Utah
  • Workflow