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Making the Move to Electronic Health Records

Bolton Family and Sports Medicine in Bolton, CT has been using electronic medical records for their patients for more than seven years.

Like many providers in Connecticut, they understand that electronic records can help ensure better care, reduce medical errors and save money. In fact, across the nation, more and more doctors, hospitals and other medical providers are making the move to electronic record-keeping thanks to a federally-supported, four-year state-led initiative to modernize the personal health records of the nation’s 300 million residents.

For the past several years, the State of Connecticut has been working to transform its health care system through the creation of a Health Information Technology Exchange (HITE) that would facilitate the secure sharing of electronic health records between patients and all of their attending medical providers. The goal is to improve the quality, efficiency and accountability of health care in Connecticut and, ultimately, across the nation.

As more and more providers begin using electronic medical records, the new HITE will provide a solution to the problem created by patients moving from doctor to doctor without their records following them. It can be a lifesaver for older people, who see an average of six doctors a year and may not be able to recall what year they had surgery or which drug made them sick.

Ultimately, HITE can help doctors deliver better care to their patients and shrink healthcare costs by reducing the need for duplicate tests and procedures.

Earlier this year, the Connecticut General Assembly passed a law creating the Health Information Technology Exchange of Connecticut (HITE-CT), a quasi-public authority that will coordinate and oversee HITE activities for the State. The authority will be managed by an appointed board of directors made up of individuals representing consumers, business, insurers, doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, medical research organizations and others with expertise in public health, health information technology, electronic records, data security, privacy and patient rights.
 
AARP Connecticut State Director Brenda Kelley was appointed to the Board in October to represent the interests of consumers. Her role will be to ensure that as the Exchange is set up, issues regarding patient privacy and access are adequately addressed, and that the interests of all consumers are considered in any decisions of the Board.

“As Connecticut moves forward with the creation of a Health Information Technology Exchange, it is important that the privacy and access rights of patients and all consumers are protected. If done correctly, the Exchange will go a long way towards improving patient care and bringing down the cost of health care in Connecticut.”

For more information about HITE, please visit the Department of Public Health website.

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