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Pilot planned to develop electronic POLST registry in CA; ACCMA to participate



August 19, 2016
Area(s) of Interest: End of Life Issues Patient Care 

A $3 million pilot project to build an electronic database for Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) has been approved by the board of directors of the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF). Participating in the project will be the Alameda-Contra Costa Medical Association (ACCMA).


POLST is a legally recognized document that outlines a plan of care reflecting patients' wishes concerning medical treatment and interventions toward the end of their lives. Currently, in California most POLST information is maintained only as a pink piece of paper that stays with the patient or the medical record.


“The POLST form is a powerful tool for helping patients specify the treatments they do and don’t want,” said Kate O’Malley, CHCF senior program officer. “But when the paper form is not immediately available, it can result in unwanted care for the patient. Building and testing an electronic database for POLST forms can improve access to this critical information.”


The Coalition for Compassionate Care of California (CCCC) will serve as the operations center for the registry. Pilot partners will design, develop and test a secure, cloud-based web portal for electronic submission, storage and retrieval of POLST data.


The registry pilot project was spurred by passage of SB 19 (Wolk) in 2015, which authorized an electronic POLST registry pilot and identified the California Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) as lead agency for the pilot.


CCCC and EMSA will work together to create a cloud-based registry where completed POLST forms can be securely submitted and retrieved. The pilot registry will be tested and evaluated in two locations: San Diego and Contra Costa counties. ACCMA, one of the California Medical Association's county medical societies, will coordinate the Contra Costa pilot. It is hoped that the pilot will help guide the expansion of the electronic registry statewide.


For more information about the project, click here.

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