Governor announces next step in implementation of statewide electronic health records

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Oct. 8, 2011 - Governor Quinn announced today the selection of InterSystems Corporation as the vendor assisting the state in the next stage of development of Illinois’ electronic health information system. After a competitive bidding process, the Illinois Office of Health Information Technology selected InterSystems to develop the technology infrastructure for the Illinois Health Information Exchange. The Exchange will connect physicians and hospitals electronically, enabling the secure exchange of patient health records statewide.

           “Building our electronic health information exchange is a major step in transforming health care and helping patients,” Governor Quinn said. “Statewide access to electronic records means that vital patient information will be instantly available to doctors and hospitals when it is needed most, improving health care delivery and saving lives.”    

The development of the Illinois Health Information Exchange is funded through a federal grant program established to allow states to assist health care providers and hospitals with the exchange of electronic health records. Illinois received $18.8 million over four years to develop this capacity, and the first phase of exchange services is expected to be available statewide in April 2012.

Like states across the nation, Illinois is actively participating in federally-funded programs to promote the widespread adoption and exchange of electronic health records.  Delays in sending paper records and the difficulty of storing, retrieving and transmitting paper documents are major contributors to inefficiency and unnecessary cost in health care. In addition to promoting better care, electronic health records also reduce the need for patients to fill out redundant forms and increase patient access to their own medical records.

“The secure exchange of patient information throughout the state is critical to improving health care and health outcomes in Illinois,” Illinois Health Information Exchange Authority Board Chair Cheryl Whitaker, MD said. “With the move away from paper records to the electronic exchange of structured data, physicians will get a more comprehensive picture of a patient’s health care history and needs, leading to better diagnoses and treatment.”

“Financial incentives offered through Medicare and Medicaid are driving Illinois health care providers and hospitals to adopt electronic health record systems in unprecedented numbers,” Laura Zaremba, Director of the Illinois Office of Health Information Technology said. “The Illinois Health Information Exchange will help them use those systems to increase care coordination and ensure that proper security measures are in place to protect patient privacy.”

The selection of InterSystems Corporation is the result of a competitive bidding process that sought industry leaders in health information technology. The selection criteria included expertise in health information management, patient privacy and security, and competitive pricing.

InterSystems Corporation is the vendor for several health information exchanges in the U.S., including the Rhode Island statewide health information exchange, the Healthcare Information Xchange of New York and the Brooklyn Health Information Exchange.  The company also provides the database and infrastructure for more than 100 health care software applications nationwide, and supplies database technology to U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Veterans’ Affairs hospitals.

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