Fallon Clinic, the Fallon Community Health Plan and UMass Memorial Health Care, all based in Worcester, Mass., have agreed to partner in creating an electronic medical data connectivity network.
"Our target is within the next six months or so to have a prototype ready for testing within the three organizations," said Rhian Gregory, spokeswoman for the 240-physician Fallon Clinic.
The network would allow physicians to access their patients' medical information kept by any of the three entities.
"At the outset, it's focused on the region, but it certainly has implications that can go beyond the region to the rest of the state and beyond the state," she said. One of the models under consideration would allow other providers and plans to have access to the system on a subscription basis, she said.
"If a Fallon Clinic patient, for instance, is rushed to the emergency room at UMass . . . our goal is to make sure that the physician on duty has access to the patient's most updated medical history, including existing medical conditions, and can immediately screen for potential drug interactions and other medical concerns," said Larry Garber, M.D., medical director for informatics at Fallon Clinic, in a news release.
"By working together, our three organizations can make sure that our patients receive well-informed care, even if they are outside of the walls of our individual organizations," Garber said.
Fallon Clinic is in the midst of an information technology development plan that includes an electronic medical records system to be available by 2006.
In mid-2003, the Fallon Community Health Plan was reconfigured from a staff-model HMO to an independent health plan while the clinic embarked on a multipayer strategy.
UMass Memorial is an academic medical center that operates three hospitals in Worcester with a total of 707 staffed beds. It is affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.