Frequently Asked Questions
Why join the Texas-CARES Program?
Through the Texas-CARES Program, participants will share in the benefits of the CARES network of communities.
- Coordinated collaboration to increase survival from sudden cardiac arrest.
- Quality improvement capability to enhance EMS response to cardiac through use of local, state, and national performance metrics
- Simple, HIPAA-compliant, web-based software to link EMS and hospital data, creating a single record for each OHCA event.
- Access to multiple real-time reporting features, including charts, graphs, and tables for use in reports, presentations, and data communication.
- Training and ongoing support to maximize participation, including one-on-one consultation with CARES staff to review annual reports and national benchmarks.
Who uses CARES?
- State EMS officials
- Fire/EMS Agencies
How does data get into CARES?
There are two methods of data entry into the CARES database.
- The CARES dataset can be entered manually by the CARES EMS contact or the EMS field providers/supervisors.
- The CARES dataset can be automatically extracted using a NEMSIS compliant file from the electronic Patient Care Report, which then auto-populates the CARES registry
Who has access to the data?
Each participating EMS agency has access to all of its EMS and hospital data for its patients. EMS agencies do not have access to data from other participating agencies. Hospital contacts only have access to their own data and can view, but not edit, the EMS dataset for patients transported to their facility. CARES staff and the state coordinator have access to all EMS and hospital data for monitoring and de-identification purposes
Does CARES use identifiable patient information?
Yes, CARES requires the use of a patient’s name and date of birth to link the EMS record with the hospital outcomes. The name and DOB are provided via the EMS dataset. Hospitals are not required to give CARES the patient identifiers as this information is already included in the EMS record. Once a record is determined to be complete by CARES staff, the record is de-identified of patient name and DOB. The CARES data use agreement was created to ensure all data is held confidential and under restricted access in the CARES website.
How does HIPAA apply?
The disclosure and use of protected health information (PHI) in connection with CARES is permissible under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) under the regulation issued at 45 C.F.R. § 164.512(b)(1)(i). The regulation authorizes a public health authority to collect or receive PHI, without individual patient authorization, for the purpose of preventing or controlling disease, injury or disability, including the conduct of public health surveillance. The CDC and organizations acting under the CDC‟s authority are considered public health authorities under the regulation.
What is the data used for?
CARES data helps local EMS administrators and medical directors identify who is affected, when and where cardiac arrest events occur, which elements of the system are functioning properly and which elements are not, and how changes can be made to improve cardiac arrest outcomes. Using the CARES software, the EMS agency will have the ability to generate real-time Utstein Survival Reports, EMS and First Responder response interval reports, as well as demographic reports. The EMS agency can use this data to inform system changes that will improve outcomes for cardiac arrest patients. CARES will allow for confidential internal benchmarking for the participating EMS agency and, in the near future, there will also be an opportunity for external regional and national benchmarking to occur in a de-identified manner.
How do I obtain more information about CARES?
More information is available to anyone via the CARES website (mycares.net). Visit the CARES homepage and select the “More information on CARES‟ link. Also, feel free to contact one of the CARES Program Coordinators for more information.
How to get involved with Texas-CARES?
For more information about getting involved, please contact us and we will respond as soon as possible.