New Public-Private Electronic Records Sharing Program For Some San Diego Patients

Two major medical systems in the San Diego area, the private HMO Kaiser Permanente and the Department of Veterans Affairs, will announce a program to share patient records, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The collaboration "marks the first time a computerized patient-records system operated by a federal agency has been linked to one operated by a private organization" and will link "files from both institutions for about 1,000 patients who receive care from both providers." 

"Initially, the pilot program will be limited to personal identification information, such as a patient's name and age, and lists of allergies, drugs and medical conditions," but the records will expand over time, the Union-Tribune reports.

"Previous attempts to establish regional electronic medical-records exchanges have been limited by the cost of buying computers and software, the lack of a single technical standard for sharing information and debates over how best to protect the privacy of patients." But, one expert said the development had exciting "symbolic" value (Darce, 1/6).

(Kaiser Health News is not associated with Kaiser Permanente.)

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