Within the next few years, Connecticut patients' medical records could be electronically accessible around the clock to doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers statewide.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell and U.S. Rep. Nancy Johnson have joined a coalition of healthcare professionals to announce the launch of eHealth Connecticut, an initiative to store and share medical records over an electronic network in place of today's paper-based methods. They say it could help reduce prescription errors, provide better information during emergencies and save money by alerting physicians to medical procedures that already have been conducted and do not need to be repeated.
''It will let doctors and hospitals communicate more rapidly, more effectively, in real time,'' Rell said. ''That's what we want, not 2-day-old information or having to send somebody back for a different test -- real time, right now.'' Coalition officials said they expect the statewide electronic record-sharing system to start operating within the next two years if all remains on schedule.