Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Governor O'Malley Discusses Health IT at Sinai

Governor Martin O'Malley, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, state Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene John Colmers, and a group of hospital leaders in Maryland came to Sinai Hospital yesterday to discuss the latest in health information technology.

The state's health IT vision has three major components: creating a statewide network of health information, encouraging the adoption of electronic health records, and maximizing federal funding.

"We are leading the nation in health records, advancing the vision for health IT as well as for hospitals, clinics and primary care physicians," O'Malley said.

Representatives from CRISP (Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients), the state's health information exchange and regional extension center, attended the forum. Their goal is to allow health information exchange (HIE) to be accessible by different health care providers, which makes for more efficient and safer patient care. The Electronic Health Information Exchange launches in September with five Montgomery County hospitals - Holy Cross Hospital of Silver Spring, Montgomery General Hospital, Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, Suburban Hospital, and Washington Adventist Hospital.

The way the exchange will work is like this: take a patient who is seen at Sinai and receives a diagnosis of diabetes and hypertension. That patient may arrive in another Baltimore hospital's emergency room months later, and that hospital's staff would not know of the patient's previous medical history. By sharing the patient information for items like current medications, tests and conditions through a safe and secure electronic system, the emergency room staff can best treat the patient.

"Over time this will also reduce the redundancy of care, such as tests that don't need to be done," O'Malley said. "It's about both the quality of care and the cost of care." To hear more from the governor, click on the video below.

Another goal of the administration is to establish universal adoption of electronic health records and to provide information on certified electronic health record vendors who can offer discounts.

Maryland is among the first three states to have a state Health IT plan approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services national Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

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