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How ‘Come I Didn’t Know About This?

January 8, 2014

Potentially fantastic news on my radio this morning.  It turns out that Massachusetts has been working on an electronic medical record system that actually communicates and receives information from hospitals and doctors offices all over the state.  Yes way!  Called “Mass HIway Query and Retrieve” (I told you doctors are not so creative with names), the system is supposed to allow a doctor at one hospital to click on the link to another hospital’s system and get records from that hospital on his/her computer screen.  I know, right?  Here’s what John Halamka, the CIO of my institution, where Gov. Patrick will be helping to unveil this new system, says was required:

*A state wide master patient index for patients who opt in, storing name, gender, date of birth and other demographic data elements
*A state wide consent registry indicating the medical record numbers and locations where patients have opted in to disclose their data to caregivers
*A portal which enables providers to securely login and view patient medical record locations
*A viewer which enables secure retrieval of medical records from organizations which support real time data display
*An electronic medical record request system for those organizations which support a request/release by the medical records department workflow.
*Full audit trails of all activity – an accounting of disclosures.

So it looks like as long as the patient has opted in to the system, giving consent for his/her records to be available through this secure system, and the hospital or doctors office is also linked to the system, the records should be available.  I’m sure the complexities on a programming basis boggle the mind, but if it works, WOW!

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