Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) on Saturday commended three Tennessee health information organizations on their efforts to create electronic health information exchange programs, the AP/Tennessean reports.
Frist said an "ideal system" would allow patients and physicians to quickly access information such as medical records, medical history, current treatment and diagnoses. He said that the "gold standard" would be a system that contains every medication patients are taking "plus an explanation of the potential complications of those medications."
The three Tennessee programs are allied under Gov. Phil Bredesen's (D) e-health advisory council, which is monitoring their progress, the AP/Tennessean reports. CareSpark, a program based in Kingsport, Tenn., is developing an electronic health record system for the Tri-Cities. The Midsouth eHealth Alliance, based in Memphis, Tenn., is aided by Vanderbilt University and serves three counties.
The Knoxville, Tenn.-based Innovation Health Valley Information Network, or IVhin, provides EHR services to 16 east Tennessee counties. IVhin has been chosen by the Patient Safety Institute of Plano, Texas, for a national demonstration program to test an electronic information exchange system modeled after the Visa credit card system, the AP/Tennessean reports. The demonstration program, which is set to launch in late 2007, has formed partnerships with major hospitals and physician groups in the market.
Frist has sponsored the Wired for Health Care Quality Act, which has passed in the Senate and would promote EHR exchanges nationally, the AP/Tennessean reports. The House is expected to consider the bill in a few months, and Frist said he hopes President Bush will sign it into law by the end of the year (Mansfield, AP/Tennessean, 7/23).