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Business // Roundtable
MidWeek Staff

Expanding Electronic Records

By Christine Sakuda
Executive Director of Hawaii Health Information Exchange

Imagine waking up in a hospital room after being unconscious for several hours. You recall being in a car accident, but the details are fuzzy. The nurse addresses you by name and assures you that you will survive. She also tells you that electronic health records (EHR) saved your life.

This vision is the future of health information technology, which is becoming a reality as the expansion of our statewide health information exchange (State HIE) progresses. The Hawaii Health Information Exchange, a nonprofit established in 2006, was designated by the state to design the State HIE, which allows health care providers to securely and conveniently exchange select patient health information.

Providers can connect to the State HIE, with or without an EHR. EHRs are electronic versions of the “paper charts” that health professionals have long used. Over the last several years, however, hundreds of health care providers across the state have made the switch from paper to electronic records. When providers use EHR to connect to the State HIE, their patients benefit in numerous ways.

Using the State HIE enables physicians to better coordinate care among specialists and other providers. The State HIE can help reduce the stress of managing your health care by enabling your physician, pharmacy, hospital and other providers to more efficiently exchange necessary medical files without compromising your privacy.

The use of EHR will additionally cut down costs for patients by reducing medical errors, test duplication, unnecessary prescriptions and repetitive administrative procedures. The State HIE will help reduce cumbersome paperwork and get your information accurately and securely into the hands of the providers who need it.

The State HIE will eventually feed into the nationwide health information network.

As our nation transforms its healthcare system through advancements in health IT, Hawaii is keeping pace by embracing the tools and technology to become a 21st century center for modern medicine.

For more information on Hawaii HIE and the State HIE, visit hawaiihie.org.

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