Originally published: August 16, 2010
Last updated: November 29, 2010 - 11:44am
When a Native American military veteran who lives in Virginia goes to the doctor, it might be tricky to track down his medical records. This hypothetical patient probably has received care from both the Veterans Affairs Department and the Indian Health Service. He has beneficiary data on file with the Social Security Administration, and also has a medical history with MedVirginia, a network of private health care providers. To get this diverse group of entities to share data and en sure that the patient gets the best care is a difficult task, full of paperwork and phone calls.
The Obama administration is trying to change all that with the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN), an ambitious project that aims to get federal agencies to use common standards to record and store health records electronically. What's more, the administration is investing billions to encourage private providers to do the same. NHIN "is able to take a process that manually might take several days and reduce that to several seconds," said Melissa Chapman, former chief information officer at the Health and Human Services Department and vice president of health solutions for the information technology firm Agilex Technologies.
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