No more hassle filling out paperwork, no need to remember previous prescriptions or procedures. The Alaska e-Health network could help provide just that.
You'll find Ben Tisdale’s story on YouTube. The 71-year-old lost his eyesight because he was given the wrong medicine.
He says if Alaska had had electronic health records, he'd still see today.
That's why what's happening in Alaska is welcome news.
William Sorrells is the new executive director of the Alaska e-Health Network. He says they are building a statewide electronic health information exchange.
“What this allows us to do is those healthcare organizations that have electronic health records for their patients will be able to have the information exchanged between other healthcare organizations,” he said.
Sorrells says the move is all about patient safety. The information is exchanged via a confidential website that even patients can access.
Clinics, hospitals and doctors’ offices across the state and even the country can all be on the same page when it comes to your health records and insurance information.
“Those are the real important things that a doctor seeing a patient for the first time, they need to know. In many cases where we have patients and Alzheimer’s and they can't remember things and the provider is really at the mercy of the patient remembering what their medications are, what kind of allergies they have or what they're doing in the past,” Sorrells said.
Some people have expressed concern over privacy, but Sorrells says Alaska's e-Health network is completely safe.
Even so, it's up to patients.
“The idea that patient privacy is paramount, in fact, so much that patients themselves, if they don't want to participate they have the ability to opt out,” Sorrells said.
He also points out that electronic health records have been around for a long time. In Alaska, the Department of Defense and VA have had great success.
He's hoping for that same success as the program rolls out in 2011.
Alaska has partnered with Orion Health to provide the technology and basically there is no hardware. It's simply a secure website with a login
Sorrells says he's hoping that most providers will be electronic by Oct. 1 of next year.
Contact Megan Baldino at firstname.lastname@example.org