Santa Barbara County Care Data Exchange Effort Moves Forward
The Santa Barbara County Care Data Exchange is expected to be functioning by this summer, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The initiative will allow hospitals, physicians, laboratories and pharmacies in Santa Barbara County to exchange confidential clinical information using a digital framework that eventually could be linked to other information networks.
The exchange project is part of a larger effort to create a national database of electronic medical records. The objective of such programs is to develop local networks that link together to form regional health information organizations, which eventually will create a national network.
To address security concerns, patients must agree to be included in the Santa Barbara County Care Data Exchange. There are special guidelines for handling sensitive diagnoses such as those related to HIV or mental health status.
Similar projects are under way in Colorado, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Tennessee. Within California, similar initiatives are being planned in Los Angeles, San Diego and the Silicon Valley
The program was launched in 1999 with a $10 million grant from the California HealthCare Foundation and a $400,000 federal grant (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/8).