Iowa hospital system, county to share records

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — A new partnership could make it easier for some doctors in eastern Iowa to treat patients with mental illness.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports (http://bit.ly/1oTOH9x ) that UnityPoint-Allen Hospital and Black Hawk-Grundy Mental Health Center will share electronic patient records, starting Jan. 1.

The agreement will make records available online to physicians, reducing the time needed to treat patients who aren't able to tell emergency room doctors what medicines they're taking.

Emergency room doctors say the extra information could allow patients to be released faster, once their problem is addressed. Hospitals have a limited number of psychiatric inpatient beds. Nurses are sometimes forced to call to other hospitals, even if it means transporting patients out of state.

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Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, http://www.wcfcourier.com

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