Missouri has launched an effort to implement electronic health records … a move the Department of Social Services will make the medical industry more efficient for consumers and physicans.
Missouri is asking the federal government for more than $13 million to implement a statewide system for electronic medical records.
The Department of Social Services, says less than 17 percent of the nation’s physicians and 9 percent of hospitals use electronic health records, which would greatly improve the medical industry.
Spokesman Scott Rowson expects the federal funding to come in January. He says advisory groups will meet bi-weekly to get the electronic system plan in place, and that things are happening quickly with this project.
Health care professionals from around Missouri are participating in the Missouri Office of Health Information Technology (MO-HITECH). MO-HITECH will be part of the Department of Social Services.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity for Missouri to transform the way medicine is practiced,” Director Ron Levy says. “Moving from paper records to electronic health records will improve the quality, safety and cost of health care in our state. Statewide electronic health information exchange will make patients’ information instantly available — wherever and whenever they receive medical care.
Money is the main obstacle, the department says. Electronic record-keeping systems can cost thousands to install, update and maintain, not to mention the required training.
“The lack of common standards and systems is another barrier to widespread use of electronic health records. If one record-keeping system can’t communicate with another, sharing health information can be difficult if not impossible,” the Department states.
The goal is to develop the infrastructure to enable the statewide exchange of health information between 2010 and 2015, with widespread implementation by 2015.
An advisory board made up of health care executives, doctors, hospital administrators, insurers, privacy experts and consumer advocates will lead the effort. Board members, appointed by Gov. Jay Nixon, will meet through next spring, when a final plan must be approved by the federal government.
Six workgroups are also meeting to discuss key aspects of health information exchange including who will pay for it, how it will be regulated and how consumer privacy will be protected.
Advisory Board members include:
Barrett A. Toan, Private Sector Co-Chair
Ronald J. Levy, Dir., DSS and HIT Coordinator, Public Sector Co-Chair
Donald Babb, CEO, Citizens Memorial Hospital, Bolivar
Steve Calloway, Pharmacy
Representative Shalonn Curls
Margaret T. Donnelly, Director DHSS and Public Health
Karen Edison, MD, Missouri Center for Health Policy
Tracy Godfrey, MD, Family Physician, Joplin
Tom Hale, MD, PhD, Sisters of Mercy Health System
Sandra Johnson, JD, LL.M, Emerita Professor of Law and Health Care Ethics, St. Louis University School of Law
Herb B. Kuhn, President & CEO, Missouri Hospital Association
Ian McCaslin, MD, Director, MO HealthNet Division
Joe Pierle, CEO, Missouri Primary Care Association
Verneda Robinson, CEO, Swope Health Systems
Andrea Routh, Health Advocacy Alliance
Senator Eric Schmitt
Mahree Skala, Missouri Association of Local Public Health Agencies
Steven C. Walli, President & CEO, United Healthcare MO
David Weiss, CIO, BJC Healthcare
Karl Wilson, President & CEO, Crider Center for Mental Health