Good for liberty? — Federal government praises Kansas as “leader” in health information technology

Press release:

JOINT PRESS RELEASE

KDHE & the federal Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology

 

January 7, 2013

KDHE Contact: Miranda Steele

ONC-HIT Contact: Nicole Hudson

 

Kansas recognized as leader in advancing the use of health information technology

Federal government lauds state’s efforts

 

TOPEKA, Kan. – Kansas officials and stakeholders have been recognized by the federal government as national leaders for their efforts to enhance the safety and quality of health care by embracing the use of health information technology.

While a number of industries have fully accepted electronic records as their norm for operations, the complexity of information and previous lack of any standards hampered the medical field’s adoption of information exchange.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) serves on the Kansas Health Information Exchange Board of Directors and believes it is important to partner with Kansas’ health care providers, hospitals and pharmacies and other stakeholders to adopt and implement technologies that allow them to communicate securely and electronically, information regarding medical consumers in real time. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is specifically recognizing the efforts in Kansas for:

· Being recognized as one of the top 10 states in the nation to have the largest increases in Directed and Query-Based exchange

· Achieving Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s second milestone for Directed and Query-Based exchange

Directed exchange is used by providers to easily and securely send patient information—such as laboratory orders and results, patient referrals, or discharge summaries—directly to another health care professional. This information is sent over the internet in an encrypted, secure, and reliable way amongst health care professionals who already know and trust each other, and is commonly compared to sending a secured email. This form of information exchange enables coordinated care, benefitting both providers and patients.

Query-based exchange is used by providers to search and discover accessible clinical sources on a patient. This type of exchange is often used when delivering unplanned care. For example:

· Emergency room physicians who can utilize query-based exchange to access patient information—such as medications, recent radiology images, and problem lists—might adjust treatment plans to avoid adverse medication reactions or duplicative testing.

· If a pregnant patient goes to the hospital, query-based exchange can assist a provider in obtaining her pregnancy care record, allowing them to make safer decisions about the care of the patient and her unborn baby.

“We’re proud of the work being done to improve care of people throughout the state and are thrilled the effort is receiving national recognition,” said Aaron Dunkel, HIT Coordinator and Deputy Secretary of KDHE. “Good communication among everyone involved in keeping a person healthy is vital to ensure good outcomes. Current technologies make it easy and safe for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and others to communicate with each other on their patients’ behalf. It results in fewer errors and means health care providers and their staff can spend more time actually talking with their patients. That’s what we’re working toward.”

Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN) Executive Director Laura McCrary said that KHIN, one of two Health Information Organizations in Kansas, has been fortunate to have the strong support of Kansas health care providers. “The Kansas Medical Society and the Kansas Hospital Association, as founding members of KHIN, have been instrumental in the successful adoption and implementation of health information exchange in Kansas,” she said.

“Many individuals have worked diligently to create capabilities that will ultimately yield improved medical outcomes and reduced treatment costs for all Kansans. The Kansas Health Information Exchange is pleased that these efforts and accomplishments have been recognized by the Office of the National Coordinator,” said Jackie John, Vice Chair of the Kansas Health Information Exchange Board of Directors.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology—which has led the process of establishing the essential building blocks to support this secure exchange of health information—is recognizing the early achievements of states and territories participating in this effort.

 

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