By Michelle Durham

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A new pilot program — the HealthShare Exchange of Southeastern Pennsylvania — was developed by area hospitals and health insurers to begin the process of safely transferring patient data records from one healthcare system to another.

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The hope is this program will eventually expand to all area hospitals, and Penn Medicine Vice President and Chief Information Officer Michael Restuccia says it could literally be a lifesaver:

Michael Restuccia (Credit: Penn Medicine)

Michael Restuccia (Credit: Penn Medicine)

“The time and energy spent faxing, locating charts and trying to send. Often it’s sent after the care is delivered. The beauty of the Healthshare information exchange is that the data is now available prior to treating the patient. And particularly in emergent situations…that information is invaluable.”

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Penn and Crozer Keystone Health System were the first to share data with patient consent. Crozer Vice President and Chief Information Officer Don Reed says sharing helps provide continuity of care:

“It’s really important that a primary care physician and specialist knows the patient is in the emergency room.”

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All this while saving money and preventing duplicate testing for the patient.