This week a Boston Globe editorial urged readers not to lose sight of the need for electronic medical records, despite the recent demise of Google Health. The editorial noted that lack of consumer interest in the service as the reason Google Health failed.
There is growing momentum in Massachusetts and other states to migrate to a system of electronic health records. In February 2010, Massachusetts was awarded $24 million to develop a Regional Extension Center, designed to assist 2,500 priority primary care physicians to achieve ‘meaningful use’ of electronic health records and create a statewide Health Information Exchange. The exchange will ensure that clinical information is secure and accessible to providers and consumers. In addition to offering financial assistance to physicians, Massachusetts also passed legislation requiring the adoption of EHRs by 2015 for all hospitals, health centers and physicians.
Massachusetts is also fortunate to be home to some of the world’s most advanced technology companies including those specializing in electronic health records. Many of these companies and businesses participated in Governor Patrick’s second annual health information technology conference earlier this year. Creating public/private partnerships is essential to a thorough migration to EHRs.
One of the keys to reigning in skyrocketing health care costs that continue to threaten the state’s economy, impede the ability for small businesses to create jobs and burden families, is to find innovative ways to change the existing model and tackle persistent costs. Electronic health records can play a significant role in reducing healthcare costs; migration to a universally electronic environment would also stimulate job growth.
While there have been challenges to the migration toward, and maintenance of, EHRs – witness Beth Israel Hospital’s recent security breach where more than 2,000 patient records may have been compromised (see Boston Globe story here) — this transformative technology is critical to helping providers reduce paperwork, improve accuracy, and spend more time with patients. It’s essential that we update management of our health care system so it is aligned with the 21st century. Being able to coordinate services through electronic management and exchange of information would mean an ability to provide better care for patients and ultimately, lower costs to consumers for quality care.
Individuals with meaningful access to their personal health records will be better participants in decisions about their care. Personal health records must be accessible, understandable and easy to maintain and keep current. They also must remain private and secure. The demise of Google Health should not deter migration to electronic health records; it just means we need to keep trying until we get it right.
# # #
ORI Mary Truong featured among Boston’s Most Influential Minority Leaders posted on Apr 29
Mary Truong, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Office of Refugees and Immigrants (ORI), was among a list of a dozen of Boston’s most influential minority leaders who were chosen for the Get Konnected! Founder’s Choice Award which recognizes citizen activists. Get Konnected!, started by African …Continue Reading ORI Mary Truong featured among Boston’s Most Influential Minority Leaders
EHS Celebrates April with First Autism Commission Executive Director posted on Apr 7
The Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) is honored to kick off April as Autism Awareness month with the swearing in of Carolyn J. Kain as the Commonwealth’s first Executive Director of the Autism Commission by Governor Charles D. Baker. “Carolyn brings both …Continue Reading EHS Celebrates April with First Autism Commission Executive Director
EOEA Welcomes Two Talented Leaders posted on Apr 6
Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) Secretary Alice Bonner recently appointed Emily Cooper as the Chief Housing Officer and Patricia Yu as the Director of Policy and Research. “I’m thrilled to welcome these two talented experts in aging programs and policy to our Elder Affairs leadership …Continue Reading EOEA Welcomes Two Talented Leaders