Washington Governor Chris Gregoire and the Legislature of his state are known proponents of using electronic health records as a means of increasing accuracy of treatment and reducing the administrative costs associated with health care. Now it seems that they are experimenting with an approach that could prove very useful in this regard.
Starting in early 2009, more than 18,000 Washingtonians in three different communities will have the opportunity to organize and manage access to their own health information under separate health record bank pilot project grants from the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA).In an age of social networking and user generated content, this looks like a logical way to proceed. The so-called Health Record Banks will greatly expand access to personal health data, which is now, almost universally, scattered across multiple platforms and locations depending on what providers the patient in question uses. Centralizing the data and increasing access is a sound plan, one which the state of Washington seems to making strides in.
The Health Care Authority will be closely monitoring the usage and benefits of the health record bank pilots. Using this new technology, patients will have the ability to view and share a copy of their health information - without having to recreate the records from mounds of information, prescriptions and medical information.The $1.7 million dollar effort include the Spokane-based Inland Northwest Health Services, Cashmere-based Community Choice Healthcare Network, and Bellingham-based St. Joseph Hospital Foundation and The Critical Junctures Institute. It is an approach that will be watched carefully to see if a system involving direct consumer management of health data is a viable option.
Work on the record banks is supposed to begin immediately, with the system going live in early 2009.
SOURCE: "Three Pilot Projects to Receive Grants from the Washington State Health Care Authority Totaling $1.7 Million to Test Consumer Managed Health Record Banks" 08/20/08
photo courtesy of Gov. Chris Gregoire's Media Center