My home state of Kansas is undertaking a new health information technology (HIT) program:
A new test program in Wichita may someday lead to the storage of all personal medical records online, easily shared among hospitals and physicians.
Wichita health care providers are helping pioneer a state pilot program that creates a centralized patient database of medical information, setting the framework toward a national exchange of health information.
State officials and their partners plan to publicly announce the project today, although it quietly launched in February to assess viability.
Called the Community Health Record Pilot Project, the demonstration moves Kansas another step forward in creating a unified electronic medical records database.
"We're really interested at the state level in seeking ways to improve the health information exchange that goes on between practitioners and hospitals," said Robert Day, interim executive director of the Kansas Health Policy Authority. "Everybody sees it as a really critical transformative process."
The pilot will use claims data of patients in Kansas Medicaid's HealthWave program, maintained by FirstGuard.
Although there is a delay between when claims are processed and uploaded to the database, historical data going back about two years has already been submitted to Cerner Corp. of Kansas City, Mo., which supplies the online database technology.
The total cost to tax payers is estimated at $750,000 and half of that will come from Medicaid. A good investment, and one that can hopefully be extended to other health systems in the state in the next few years.