HOLYOKE — Gov. Deval Patrick and Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz recently witnessed the launch of phase two of the Mass HIway Health Information Exchange.
Holyoke Medical Center (HMC) joined forces with Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital (BIDMC), Tufts Medical Center, and Atrius Health to demonstrate, for the first time, how healthcare providers will have the ability to instantly locate, request, and retrieve medical records from other participating providers from across the Commonwealth on a secure, interconnected system. The event was broadcast live and joined all four healthcare providers via video link.
“This technology is a win for all of us. It will help us reduce health costs, improve patient care, and save lives,” Patrick said. “Accurate health information is the fuel of our healthcare system, and these innovations will allow providers to treat patients with greater accuracy and speed.”
At the simulation, Emergency Department (ED) clinicians at BIDMC simulated an encounter where a patient presented to the ED as combative, non-compliant, and unable to give a reliable past medical history. Using the Mass HIway, doctors were able to discover the patient had previously been treated at HMC, Atrius Health, and Tufts, and, using the Mass HIway, they were able to request and retrieve these records at the touch of a button. This provided the BIDMC clinicians to instantly have a comprehensive medical history on the patient and allowed the care team to avoid drug-to-drug and allergic reactions, unnecessary or duplicative testing, and delayed diagnosis.
“Holyoke Medical Center continues to be a leader in the area of health-information exchange,” said HMC Vice President of Operations and chief information officer Carl Cameron. “The Holyoke Medical Center HealthConnect currently has 60 healthcare providers in its exchange, and when the Mass HIway is fully opened up, these 60 providers will also have the ability to exchange information through the highway.”
The mission of the Mass HIway is to deploy a secure electronic health-information exchange that is accessible to all healthcare systems statewide regardless of affiliation, location, or differences in technology, and to and serve as a tool for the Commonwealth’s healthcare community to improve coordination, quality, patient satisfaction, and public-health reporting while containing costs. The Mass HIway is operated by the state’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services.