Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is San Diego Health Connect?

    San Diego Health Connect—a not-for-profit corporation—is the health information utility that spans the San Diego community to ensure that patients’ health information is securely available when and where it is needed. We are working to connect every healthcare stakeholder in the San Diego region and serve every member of the community. Learn more about who we are and the role we play in the community.

  • What is a health record?

    Your health record is a list of the care you have received. Your health record might list things like the dates of your past visits, your diagnoses, medications you take, lab test results and treatments you've had.

  • What is an electronic health record (EHR), and why is it important?

    Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are, at their simplest, digital (computerized) versions of patients' paper medical charts. Electronic health records give your doctors many opportunities to improve your care. For example, EHRs can be quickly updated and used by you and your healthcare team. And it is easier and more effective for your doctor to share your health information with another of your doctors using a secure electronic connection than using a fax machine or snail mail.

  • What is a health information exchange?

    A health information exchange is a system that connects patients, physicians, hospitals and other healthcare organizations to provide secure access to important health information. When your doctors communicate with each other and share your health information, they can provide better, more informed care. Not only does this improve patient care, but it also increases efficiency and helps lower costs for you and for the healthcare system as a whole. Learn more about what health information exchange is and why it’s important.

  • What is the mission of San Diego Health Connect?

    To connect healthcare stakeholders to deliver better information for better care.

  • How is San Diego Health Connect organized and who is involved?

    A voluntary board of directors including representatives of local hospital systems, community clinics, medical groups, providers, payers and the County of San Diego provides direction for San Diego Health Connect. Day-to-day operations are overseen by an executive director. Learn more about our leadership team. San Diego Health Connect has the unwavering support of the most prominent healthcare organizations in the region. The health systems that anchor our health information exchange include Kaiser Permanente, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, UC San Diego Health System, Rady Children’s Hospital, Sharp Healthcare and Scripps Health. You can be confident that San Diego Health Connect is backed by organizations committed to establishing successful health information exchange throughout the San Diego community.

  • How does San Diego Health Connect work?

    1. Exchange Of Patient Care Information. When a doctor is seeing you for a treatment purpose, he or she can receive information about your health history from doctors who have treated you in the past.
    2. Messaging And Alerting Of Patient Events. If you receive care in the emergency department or are admitted to or discharged from a hospital, San Diego Health Connect can notify your doctors about that event. Doctors can also use this service to communicate between themselves.
    3. EMS HUB. In case of an emergency, emergency medical services (EMS) providers can send information about your health condition to a hospital’s emergency room while you are en route in an emergency vehicle. Receiving this important information before you arrive at the hospital allows staff to prepare resources and reduce time to treatment.
    4. Public Health Reporting. San Diego Health Connect transmits health information to public health departments and organizations. For example, your physicians and health systems can transmit immunization information to the San Diego Immunization Registry. Medical centers can transmit information to the County Public Health Department for early detection of disease outbreaks.

  • How will San Diego Health Connect benefit me?

    Today most medical records are stored as large paper files. When one health professional sees you, he or she jots down notes, fills out a form to order tests and writes out a prescription. If you need care elsewhere or need to get a prescription filled, lots of paper records must be pulled, copied and sent. Sometimes, records aren’t sent at all, or important pieces of information get lost in transit. When your doctors communicate with each other and share your health information, they can provide better, more informed care. Not only does this improve patient care, but it also increases efficiency and helps lower costs for you and for the healthcare system as a whole. Learn more about what health information exchange is and why it’s important.

  • What is this going to cost me?

    Participating in San Diego Health Connect is free to all patients. What’s more, by improving quality of care and reducing duplication of tests and procedures, health information exchange actually helps lower the cost of care for everyone in the community. But consider this. As consumers, we don’t often think about our health information until we need it—but when we need it, it is vitally important. In fact, having health information available during an emergency can save lives. If every member of the community paid $1 per year, the costs of operating this HIE service for the community would be covered. One dollar per year—8 cents a month—is a very small price to pay for the peace of mind having your health information available can bring.

  • How will this save me time and money?

    1. You don’t have to remember the details of every hospital visit when you see a new doctor. You don’t have to spend time filling out the same paperwork again and again.
    2. Doctors can see whether you recently had a test or procedure performed—and they can see the results without having to order the procedure again. This saves you both time and money. By preventing duplication of tests and procedures, HIE makes healthcare less expensive for everyone.
    3. When your doctors have complete, accurate and timely information about your health history, they can make better, more informed decisions. This makes care safer and can also reduce the need for more—and increasingly expensive—care in the future.

  • How will my privacy be protected?

    Your privacy is extremely important. Only authorized members of your healthcare team can view your health record. San Diego Health Connect has created a secure system for information exchange that complies with state and federal privacy laws. Our system uses specific protocols and a secure network to keep your health record safe. With enhanced security protections above what is possible with paper records and more controlled access to patient health information, patient privacy is better protected than ever before. Learn more about the privacy and security of our system.

  • Do I have to share my health information?

    No. You have the opportunity to consent to participate in secure health information exchange. Learn more about your consent options. When everyone in the community participates, everyone’s health improves and healthcare costs go down.

  • How do I sign up to participate in San Diego Health Connect?

    Ask your doctors if they participate in San Diego Health Connect. You can also view our list of participating providers. More and more doctors and other healthcare providers are getting connected through San Diego Health Connect. If you receive care from a provider who is not yet participating in our HIE, you can sign up to be notified when new healthcare providers and organizations join San Diego Health Connect.