E-Health in Erlanger

Sep 6, 2011

The debate over sharing medical records via the internet continues tomorrow during a summit in northern Kentucky.  A deputy director with the Governor’s Office of Electronic Health Information says a quick exchange of information can save lives and money.

“Errors can be prevented, better care plans can be developed.  You just get a better continuity of care for that patient,” said Polly Mullins-Bentley.

Quoting a 2008 study by the University of Kentucky, Bentley says one-fifth of physicians were able share patient records via the internet.  There’s worry about confidentiality, but, she says privacy is built into the system…

“Only a provider who is treating that patient at the point of care whether they’re in the emergency department, they’re in the physician officer, they can only access that information for treatment,” added Bentley.

It’s not likely to happen real soon, but Bentley believes such an exchange of patient information can help reduce the cost of health care.

“We’re hoping ultimately and studies have shown, it could reduce the cost of care and we see that in other countries who are ahead of us.  You know, cut down on the duplication that happens because a provider doesn’t have access to that information.  They’re going to order more tests.”

Bentley says incentives offered through the state should help boost participation in e-health programs.