YNN: first reported on May 11, 2011
Nathan Littauer Hospital is the first in Fulton County to agree to share its electronic medical records with consent. YNN’s Megan Cruz tells us what that means for its patients.
GLOVERSVILLE, N.Y. — A patient’s information, just a mouse click away.
“We’re sharing this information so that patients can benefit from our records wherever they may receive care in the area,” said Martin Brown, the Chief Information Officer at Nathan Littauer Hospital.
This electronic sharing of patient data is made possible through HIXNY, or the Healthcare Information X-change of New York.
Nathan Littauer Hospital joins 27 other upstate healthcare facilities already part of the organization.
“With the institution of HIXNY, we will be able to instantaneously have access to the medical records from most of the regional facilities,” said Dr. Todd Duthaler, the Chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the hospital.
“Before this, we had fax machines,” said Brown.
And a whole lot of red tape.
“Get the patient’s consent, fax that consent to the organization, and they fax you the records when they get around to it in maybe two or three days,” said Brown. “This would allow immediate access at the time of care.”
But agreeing to join on with HIXNY does not automatically allow for the sharing of patient records. Each person will have to sign a consent form, which hospital officials hope everyone will do.
“There really are no negatives to allowing us consent to access your information,” said Duthaler. “The information will still be kept private.”
But Dr. Duthaler does admit to a loophole, but says it only applies in a critically life-threatening emergency.
“When that patient would be least able to provide us with their history, we would have access to it,” said Duthaler.
“We would be able to bring up your records so we don’t have to do everything in the dark,” said Brown.
Just one more reason, they say, to sign on the dotted line.