Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, using a simulated medical setting for a hands-on demonstration, launched the next phase of his state's health information exchange
Emergency department clinicians from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
in Boston simulated a scenario in which they located, requested and retrieved medical records
for a nonresponsive patient. Using new tools added to the HIE—known as the Massachusetts Health Information Highway—the demonstration occurred in real-time and drew from participants Atrius Health, Holyoke Medical Center and Tufts Medical Center.
“The new MassHIway technology enables providers to more quickly diagnose patient conditions,” John Polanowicz, secretary of Health and Human Services for Massachusetts, said in a news release. “It will allow providers to better prevent medical errors such as drug-to-drug or allergic reactions; and will help discontinue fax and paper-based records that take precious time and cost millions of dollars.”
The exchange first went live in October 2012 when Patrick sent his medical record across the state from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. Since then, 55 institutions have signed on to the exchange, which allows them to connect using direct messaging-enabled electronic health-record systems, local area network devices or secure e-mail portals.
“This technology is a win for all of us—it will help us reduce health costs, improve patient care and save lives,” Patrick said in the release. “Accurate health information is the fuel of our healthcare system, and these innovations will allow providers to treat patients with greater accuracy and speed.”
The system also gives clinicians a way to connect with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in order to electronically submit immunization information, cancer case information and other data from their electronic health record systems used to monitor and improve public health.Massachusetts
was the first state to receive federal grants through the CMS—up to $22.3 million—to develop its HIE. Follow Rachel Landen on Twitter: @MHrlanden