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Getting ME Healthcare Info Online

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 By Glen GardnerContact
January 9, 2012

PORTLAND, Maine - A key component of getting health care costs under control is minimizing the amount of paperwork in the system. Later this year, Maine will take a step in the right direction when the state's health information exchange is ready for online testing. The system will give most Mainers online access to their health records.

Devore Culver is the CEO of HealthInfoNet, the organization overseeing the project.

"The health information exchange in this state is going to open up connection this year to consumers - to patients - so they can see their own information."

The data collection system has been in place for three years, but this summer there will be a pilot program giving some consumer access to it, with the hope of a statewide rollout at the end of the year. The system was funded as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Culver says great pains have been taken to make sure the system is secure before the public launch. It will help save money in a number of different ways, Culver adds, including cutting down on unnecessary tests.

"If the provider actively uses the structure, it can help avoid repeating tests and repeating things that are perhaps counter-indicated."

Culver says currently about 70 percent of the state's residents have some information in the system. Using the network, providers can share information about a patient, such as drug allergies, prescriptions, medical conditions, and lab and test results.

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