NYC to develop unified medical records

New York Governor, David Paterson announced recently announced US$ 105 million in grants to help develop a unified system of electronic medical records for New Yorkers he said would reduce errors and duplicative testing. The governor said the electronic system will not only improve care, but avoid cases like when a patient has to explain his medical history to medical assistants, when suffering from a condition. The federal and state grants for 19 projects around the state include US$ 5.2 million for the Western New York Clinical Information Exchange with 16 hospitals, four health plans and one long-term care provider. Another US$ 12.7 million in grants go to the Brooklyn Health Information Exchange with seven hospitals, five health plans and 17 long-term care facilities. Paterson said more than half of New Yorkers have the same problem he does: scattered medical records. On a flight from New York City to Buffalo last July 24, someone said the ailing Paterson was diabetic, it was written on a piece of paper, and that error followed him through Erie County Medical Center and that evening to Mt. Sinai Hospital. He was also mistakenly given a lot of sugar on the plane and so his blood sugar level was high, he said. “Finally about 8 or 9 o’clock I decided, don’t fight it. I have diabetes,” Paterson joked. He added, more seriously, “Any examination of my medical records would have shown that if I am actually David Paterson, I do not suffer from diabetes.” Paterson said the projects should support patient privacy with security measures established around records. State Health Commissioner Dr. Richard Daines said the projects are part of a plan to overhaul health care in New York. The lack of such records causes medical errors, increases costs with diagnostic tests unnecessarily repeated and makes patients dissatisfied, he said. “We estimated 55 percent of the patients in the state will have some direct benefit,” Daines said.


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