BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts has launched the next phase of an electronic medical records system designed to make it easier for doctors to pull up a patient’s medical history with the click of a button.
State officials say the Mass HIway Health Information Exchange will for the first time let health care providers locate, request, and retrieve medical records from other participating health care providers across the state on a secure, interconnected system.
Gov. Deval Patrick attended the launch of the system at an event Wednesday at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Patrick said the new system would reduce health costs and improve patient care.
The event included a demonstration of the new technology. Emergency doctors simulated an encounter where a patient was unresponsive. By using the new tools, they were able to electronically track down the patient’s medical records at insurers and other medical centers in real time.
Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services John Polanowicz said the new technology will help providers prevent medical errors such as drug-to-drug or allergic reactions. He said it also will help phase out more costly and time-consuming fax and paper-based records.
Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to receive federal funding to develop the Health Information Exchange. The Mass HIway system first went live for use by the Massachusetts health care community Oct. 16, 2012. Fifty-five institutions have already connected and are using the system.