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(Photo: Eric Haynes / Governor's Office)

(Photo: Eric Haynes / Governor’s Office)

Today, Governor Deval Patrick launched the next phase of the Mass Health Information Exchange, known as the Mass HIway. Joining Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz and health care leaders at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), Holyoke Medical Center, Tufts Medical Center and Atrius Health, the Governor demonstrated the innovative new tools now available allowing providers for the first time to locate, request and retrieve medical records from other participating healthcare providers across the Commonwealth on a secure, interconnected system with a click of a button.

“This technology is a win for all of us – it will help us reduce health costs, improve patient care and save lives,” said Governor Patrick. “Accurate health information is the fuel of our health care system, and these innovations will allow providers to treat patients with greater accuracy and speed.”

The event included a hands-on demonstration of the new technology in a simulated medical setting, where the Governor witnessed doctors working to help a patient by retrieving the patient’s health information from other health care organizations in real-time. Emergency department clinicians at BIDMC simulated an encounter where a patient was unresponsive, but using the Mass HIway, doctors discovered the patient had medical records at Atrius Health, Holyoke Medical Center and Tufts Medical Center. Doctors used the Mass HIway to request and retrieve these records. With a comprehensive medical history on the patient, the care team avoided drug-to-drug and allergic reactions, duplicative testing and delayed diagnosis, and was able to treat the patient with greater speed and safety.

“The new MassHIway technology enables providers to more quickly diagnose patient conditions,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) John Polanowicz. “It will allow providers to better prevent medical errors such as drug-to-drug or allergic reactions; and will help discontinue fax and paper-based records that take precious time and cost millions of dollars.”

As a result of the Governor’s leadership, Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to receive federal funding through the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services to develop the Health Information Exchange. The Mass HIway first went live for use by the Massachusetts healthcare community on October 16, 2012. At the launch, Governor Patrick’s physician sent the Governor’s medical record across the state securely over the Mass HIway in real time and now 57 institutions have already connected and are using the Mass HIway to support care coordination, case management, quality reporting and public health.

“As more providers and hospitals adopt The Mass HIway, it will become a critical tool in health care delivery and operations,” said HHS CIO Manu Tandon. “Our goal is to assist the Commonwealth’s care community to efficiently use the technology to realize its full potential.”

For more images from the event visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mass_hhs/

For more information on the Mass HIway visit: www.mass.gov/hhs/masshiway

Written By:


Deputy Communications Director, Office of Health and Human Services

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