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EHealth NHITweek Button_webHealth information technology is revolutionizing how care is delivered, health information shared, quality measured, reimbursements dispersed, and patients engaged in their own health and health care. This week we celebrate National Health IT Week and the critical role of health IT in transforming and improving the health of patients, health care provided, and sustainability of health systems across Massachusetts and the nation.

Health IT, from telemedicine to electronic health records (EHR), power more efficient and better coordinated patient care by preventing duplicative tests and paperwork,  easing access to health care providers, and securely connecting health information across providers. All of this decreases medical errors resulting from misinformation, improves the quality of health care delivery, increases patient safety, strengthens interaction between patients and health care providers — and drive down the health cost of care making it more affordable and thus accessible for all.

Across the nation, EHR adoption has quadrupled for hospitals across the nation between 2008 and 2012. In Massachusetts, nearly 80% of health care institutions and practices report using EHRs, and 50% of consumers indicated they have used health IT to directly communicate with their health care provider, review test results, renew prescriptions or schedule appointments.

Here in Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Health Information Highway (Mass HIway) is the first in the nation Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) funded health information exchange (HIE). With patient consent, the Mass HIway allows all health care providers and systems statewide, regardless of affiliation, location, or differences in technology, to locate, request, retrieve, and send patient medical records from other participating healthcare providers across the Commonwealth on a secure, inter-connected system with a click of a button.

As of September 2014 the Mass HIway had enrolled 225 Massachusetts licensed healthcare organizations with over 3.4 million transactions exchanged over the secure network among between hospitals, private practices, community health centers, public health agencies, nursing facilities, health insurers, and other health care organizations.

The Mass HIway also advances public health reporting by enhancing the quality of data and metrics collected from health care providers. This clinical data is used by MassHealth and private insurers to implement new payment approaches, and to directly report required quality metrics to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Required submissions include immunization information, cancer case information, and other information required to further the goals of monitoring and improving public health.

Happy 9th Annual National Health IT Week!

To learn more about the Massachusetts Health Information Highway (Mass HIway): www.mass.gov/hhs/masshiway

To learn more about the Massachusetts Health Insurance Exchance (The Connector): https://bettermahealthconnector.org/

To learn more about the Massachusetts eHealth Institute: http://mehi.masstech.org/

To learn more about Health IT in Massachusetts, read the full MeHI Provider and Consumer Health IT Research Study

To learn more about events throughout the week: http://www.healthit.gov/healthitweek/

 

Written By:


Communications Director, Executive Office of Health and Human Services

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