Two Colorado health information exchanges have teamed up to share information in hopes of better coordinating care when patients travel around the state for treatment.

Grand Junction’s Quality Health Network and the Denver-based Colorado Regional Health Information Organization announced Tuesday that the two entities expanded their exchange of secure patient data.

The goal of the agreement is for health care providers to be able to access patient information quickly if a person is coming from across the state and for primary care doctors to easily determine what treatment their patient may have received at a facility on the Front Range.

As patients, particularly from rural areas, travel to bigger cities for care, this collaboration will help doctors more efficiently treat people and help eliminate and duplication of services, according to QHN Executive Director and CEO Dick Thompson.

The exchange of data has been in effect for a few months, Thompson said. “It’s really important for those patients who travel to the Front Range for more esoteric care so it allows their primary care doctors and other physicians to do appropriate follow-up because they know what happened over there,” he said.

Patients sign waivers to give their physician clearance to find their medicals records within the system.

“Both organizations are recognized for the security that each system has, and only authorized folks who have a treatment relationship with a patient have access to the information,” Thompson said.

Dr. Gregory Reicks, a family medicine physician and Foresight Family Practice, said the agreement between QHN and CORHIO is a big help. Recently, he had a patient come from the Front Range who had a history of heart issues and because of the access, he was able to pull up data on the patient from previous physicians in Denver and Pueblo.

With that access, he was able to make more timely decisions and get the patient cardiology care.

In the past, Reicks would have to have the patient fill out paperwork to authorize the release of records and contact previous providers. Sometimes it would take weeks for records to move back and forth. Also, patients aren’t always clear on exactly what treatments they’ve received.

QHN is used in 14 health care systems in Western Colorado and 94% of providers in the region use QHN’s software. The agreement helps connect 89 Colorado hospitals and more than 7,600 providers, according to a press release.

The connection is part of the Patient-Centered Data Home project with the Strategic Health Information Exchange Council.

“As health information exchange expands across the nation, Colorado remains on the forefront of this shift,” CORHIO CEO Morgan Honea said in the release.