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South Texas' Medical 'Safety Net' Gets Stronger

Healthcare Access San Antonio

Your chances of getting effective medical help in the event of an emergency have just improved. That’s because 32 San Antonio area hospitals are now part of a modern electronic health records partnership.

It's a milestone for San Antonio’s Health Information Exchange. The Alamo City is the first in Texas to connect all of its six major hospital systems in a way that will give doctors quicker access to your medical records.

That can be essential in the event of an emergency. Southwest General Hospital became the latest to join in. Kim Harris of Healthcare Access San Antonio, known as HASA, said local patients will benefit from this new network.

"If you are admitted into the emergency room in an emergency situation, maybe you’re unconscious, you were in a car wreck or your family is not available to be with you. The physicians at the local emergency room will be able to pull up previous medical information like diagnoses or allergies or conditions that might affect their treatment," Harris explained. "So you have the emergency safety net of knowing your physician will have all of the available information at the time that you need it the most."

Six years ago, Healthcare Access San Antonio received federal funding to develop the Health Information Exchange for medical providers and patients in Bexar and 21 other South Texas counties.  This new kind of electronic access to medical information is designed to save time, money and ultimately lives. 

Wendy Rigby is a San Antonio native who has worked as a journalist for more than 25 years. She spent two decades at KENS-TV covering health and medical news. Now, she brings her considerable background, experience and passion to Texas Public Radio.