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New Partnerships to accelerate electronic health records in Gulf States

Posted Oct 22 2008 9:32pm

Over the weekend no less than five of my topics of interest converged bringing NHII, Louisiana, children and families, weblogs, and quality healthcare together.

Late last week HHS announced partnerships and funding to support Digital Health Recovery on the Gulf Coast.  It includes a task force hosted by the Southern Governors Association and development of a prototype of health information sharing and electronic health record support that can be replicated throughout the region by Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals.

Then over the weekend I had a chance to read the November 14 issue of Government Health IT and learn about some of the lessons learned in the aftermath of Katrina and Rita.  I was so impressed by Dr. Julie Boom anticipating the need and her efforts to obtain immunization records on Louisiana children so they could quickly be enrolled in Houston area schools and have some stability returned to their lives.  I also appreciated learning about the efforts of Mark Frisse using his blog and an email to move people to action for the benefit of the national health information infrastructure and people of the Gulf Coast.  Healthcare and information technology professionals across the country jumped in and found creative ways to break down barriers and access information needed for the benefit of timely and appropriate patient care.

Just as a medical error usually occurs as a result of the alignment of multiple failures, the impact of Katrina was the result of multiple failures.  However, in the aftermath there truly has been an alignment of stars and individual healthcare and information technology professionals have arisen to seize the opportunities for improvement presented.  As a society, we need to continue to support those who pursue these opportunities for improvement because they will eventually benefit us all!

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