In an interview for a California HealthCare Foundation special audio report, Molly Coye, founder and CEO of HealthTech — a not-for-profit education and research organization advancing the use of technology to promote the health of individuals and communities — said there has been “real progress” in the California Regional Health Information Organization‘s plans to advance “concrete” local, regional and statewide projects that facilitate secure sharing of patient data.
The collaboration, which began in January 2005 and is “incubated” at HealthTech, will become its own not-for-profit organization in January 2006. CalRHIO has received $5 million in stakeholder donations to support its five current projects:
- Linking hospital emergency departments across the state;
- Defining the necessary infrastructure for statewide health data exchange;
- Supporting enhanced medication management safety;
- Improving administrative efficiency for health plans and providers; and
- Giving consumers more direct access to information in the form of a personal health record.
Although connecting EDs across the state — CalRHIO’s first “proof of concept” project — was conceived well ahead of hospital closures and the loss of medical records in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the situation in the Gulf States is “providing a major push” for electronic health records and connectivity.
Coye said CalRHIO hopes to have 80% to 90% of California consumers, physicians, hospitals, health plans, laboratories and long-term care facilities connected within a decade. She added that making decisions and compromises to facilitate such connections is “going to be the toughest part.” In addition, Coye said she thinks it is possible for consumers at a community level to establish an online personal health record (Rebillot, California Healthline, 10/11).
The complete audio of the interview is available online for download in mp3 format.
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