Health IT

10 more states join federal drive to share patient records during disasters

data networkThis week, states in the South, East, and Midwest said they would make their health information exchanges stronger and more useful through the Direct Project. Could they be motivated by lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy? Or the approaching Meaningful Use stage 2 deadline? Either way, it’s encouraging news.

A Modern Healthcare article reported:

 The latest states to jump on the Direct interoperability bandwagon include Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin and West Virginia. All of their statewide health information exchange organizations have established the capability to exchange messages with at least one other state, and will continue to work with one another to enable the exchange of records between them in the event of their residents being displaced from their homes, according to … the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

Direct was developed in 2010 as a streamlined, more wieldy version of the Nationwide Health Information Network. It’s used between providers that already have a business or clinical relationship. Providers deposit patient records in a shared database and then can search by patient.

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Stage 2 meaningful use requirements goes into effect for hospitals October 1 and January 1, 2014 for physician practices.

[Photo Credit: freedigitalphotos user sheelamohan]

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