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Health

Regional Health Information Exchange Gets One Million to Move Forward

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kcur/local-kcur-925904.mp3

Kansas City, MO – Local health providers are one step closer to sharing medical records with one another electronically.

For about two years, health agencies from across the metro have been working on a way to securely access and transfer patient health information. The local group heading the project recently received about a million dollars from area foundations to establish the electronic infrastructure to do this.

Laura McCrary has been involved with the initiative. She says the current way of doing things can be inefficient and prone to medical errors.

"Right now, when you go to your primary care doctor, you fill out a bunch of paperwork, and they enter all that information into their computer system," says McCrary. "And then when you go to the emergency room, you fill out a lot of the same paper work and enter that into their system. But those two systems never talk to each other."

McCrary says a health information exchange will allow doctors, hospitals, and other providers to better coordinate things like patient medications, procedures and lab-work.

She says the group plans to implement the exchange over the next five years, and connect it to providers across a 25 county area.

A lot of federal stimulus money has also been going towards state efforts to develop exchanges and giving doctors incentives to participate in them. St. Louis has a similar initiative underway and is using the same technology Kansas City recently decided to use.

Find more Health Coverage on KCUR.

Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

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