Medical records for about 60% of Minnesota's population will be linked in a new data network starting early next year, healthcare industry leaders and Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced.
The project's architects said the Minnesota Health Information Exchange will be one of the largest electronic medical networks of its kind in the nation, letting doctors call up patients' medication histories and laboratory results at the tap of a few keys.
The state of Minnesota, Allina Hospitals & Clinics system and three large insurersBlue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, HealthPartners and Medicatogether are putting up $4.5 million to get the project going. They eventually plan to add more patients and data such as insurance verification, disease surveillance and e-prescriptions.
Anticipating criticism from privacy advocates, Pawlenty said the information would be secure. "Nothing will happen without consumer permission or patient permission," he said.
The announcement did not sit well with the Citizens' Council on Health Care, or CCHC, a privacy advocacy group based in St. Paul. In a news release, Twila Brase, president of CCHC, said the plan was put into law without a full hearing by the Senate and "will be the key to opening everyone's medical record."
"While the details are not yet known, we suspect that true consent will not be part of the exchange," Brase said. "Our attempts last session to require informed and written patient consent separate from the treatment or coverage consent were repeatedly rebuffed by proponents. Without true consent, patients have no control." by the Associated Press and Joseph Conn
What do you think? Post a comment on this article and share your opinion with other readers. Submit your letter to Modern Physician Online at [email protected]. Please be sure to include your hometown and state, along with your organization and title.