We are pleased to announce that the Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) recently  awarded CAHIE a contract to develop the Directory Services component of the Patient Unified Lookup System for Emergencies.  The funding will be used to expand the current functional capability and local access to the California Trusted Exchange Network (CTEN) for interconnectivity with PULSE, which is currently under development as part of the $2.75M grant awarded to EMSA by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC).  PULSE will utilize national standards in order to share health information, while leveraging the policies, procedures, and services of the CTEN in order to establish trust with participating organizations and systems.

CAHIE has been working in collaboration with the ONC for the past several years to define PULSE California use cases and technical specification for the system, which will be demonstrated in California as a table-top drill next spring.  CAHIE currently serves as the technical adviser to the PULSE+EMS grant program.

The concept of PULSE is to connect multiple health information organizations, health systems, and other data sources to local interoperability broker services that use a secure, web-based portal user interface. During a disaster the portal can be activated enabling disaster healthcare volunteers and other authorized professionals to access the health information of displaced patients and evacuated victims.

A critical component of the project is to integrate PULSE with the existing Disaster Healthcare Volunteers (DHV) database,the California implementation of the federal Emergency Service Advance Registry for Volunteer Healthcare Professionals (ESAR-VHP).  DHV contains the credentials of volunteer disaster workers who have been verified in advance.  Integrating DHV with PULSE will allow volunteers registered in DHV to immediately authenticate with PULSE and utilize its capabilities when activated during a disaster. To do this a directory service is needed.

There are three primary use cases envisioned for PULSE, which are to retrieve health information to aid in caring for:

  1. Displaced patients evacuated from healthcare facilities in the disaster area;
  2. Injured victims of the disaster transported from the disaster area by first responders; and
  3. Injured victims of the disaster transported by themselves, family, or neighbors.

These use cases in turn define a set of minimal use cases for Directory Services in order to support PULSE:

  1. PULSE use case 2 requires Directory Services to identify all of the organizations or facilities that participate in PULSE, and return their names, demographic information, and all of the information necessary to query them for health information.
  2. PULSE use cases 2 and 3 require Directory Services to identify and return all of the information necessary to query for health information at one or more known organizations or facilities that participate in PULSE based on name and/or demographic information such as their location.

RAIN Live Oak, a CAHIE member organization, will work with CAHIE, as well as the PULSE vendor Audacious Inquiry to develop and deploy a services registry that meets the needs of the specific PULSE use cases.  We are excited to continue to support this groundbreaking program.