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 Jan. 8. 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 went live in October 2012 when Patrick sent his medical records 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.
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