2009:  Oregon POLST Registry

Although by this time, POLST was the accepted standard for communicating patient preferences surrounding life-sustaining treatment, EMS responders reported frequently that the POLST form could not be found in the first few minutes that they were on scene (The Oregon POLST Registry: A Preliminary Study of Emergency Medical Services Utilization).  A pilot project was funded by private philanthropy including a grant from The Greenwall Foundation and gifts from individual donors with the goal of enhancing POLST form access.

The first phase of the project consisted of designing the electronic registry.  In January 2009, the second phase began, with system training and testing of the developed registry by the project team, with the OHSU Emergency Communications Center and EMS professionals in Clackamas County.  May 2009 marked the roll out of the third phase or “pilot” of the Oregon POLST Registry with initiation in Clackamas County on May 26, 2009.

Concurrently, task force leaders worked to facilitate legislation to create and fund the Oregon POLST Registry, which would be "owned" by the Oregon Health Authority but operated under contract by the OHSU Department of Emergency Medicine. The legislation addressed HIPAA requirements, mandated that health care professional signers (or their designees) submit forms unless the patient opted out and provided funding for the Registry.  All other aspects of the POLST program including form revision remained under the leadership of the Oregon POLST Task Force administered by the OHSU Center for Ethics.  The legislation became law on July 1, 2009 and the Registry office began accepting forms from all of Oregon.  On December 3, 2009 the Oregon POLST Registry was implemented statewide.  For further details of POLST registry development visit the Oregon POLST Registry website at www.orpolstregistry.org