IBM jumped into the world of health-related data in 2015, partnering with numerous companies and launching a new Watson service.

TriStar Health is debuting a system that electronically shares information between emergency rooms and ambulances before and after a patient’s trip to help people get better care.

Electronic information sharing that has become commonplace in almost every other industry remains unusual in health care. There’s essentially a moat between the technology system of a hospital and the emergency services agencies — not to mention other health systems.

The health data exchange will feed information from the ambulance to the TriStar Health emergency departments, and back to the EMS systems — modernizing a system that largely relies on manual communications, such as fax, phone calls and handwritten records.

It’s nearly impossible to manually bridge the gap in a way that allows emergency medical service teams to track outcomes data that could help them decide if they made the right decisions about treatment. 

“This is something I always felt like was a missing link,” said Hunter Earnest, director of EMS and trauma services at TriStar Health.

The new system will give EMS teams the chance to get feedback on patients and learn from it, said Brian Newberry, EMS chief for Wilson County Emergency Management Agency.

This is particularly important for treating patients with uncommon symptoms that those teams encounter infrequently, said Newberry. 

The data exchange also improves the way information gets added to a patient’s file. Right now, putting information in patient records requires people with EMS departments…