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April 18, 2005

California healthcare organizations to fund data exchange initiative

The San Francisco-based Health Technology Center, or HealthTech, has revealed that a certain number of California healthcare organizations will be funding CalRHIO, a collaborative statewide initiative set up to develop secure data exchange systems that provide electronic access to healthcare information.

By CBR Staff Writer

The California HealthCare Foundationhas funded the CalRHIO office and sponsorship of five California summit meetings, while $1m grants have been made by Sutter Health, Kaiser Permanente and the WellPoint Foundation. The University of California has also offered $100,000 for the project.

Sutter Health president Van Johnson believes the scheme will provide a model for quality and efficiency in healthcare that the rest of the nation can and should follow.

Lumetra, the John Muir/Mt. Diablo Health System, based in Walnut Creek and the Cedars-Sinai Health System in Los Angeles are among other healthcare organizations providing additional funding to the program, which was created in response to the US health care technology initiative announced in 2004.

As part of the scheme, working groups have been established to focus on critical data exchange issues including privacy and security, governance, clinical information and technology.

According to Ann Donovan, CalRHIO project manager, the first demonstration project will seek to electronically link California’s emergency departments.

Laboratories, pharmacies, doctors’ offices, emergency rooms, hospitals, and nursing homes will all contribute to better care when they are able to share their information, said Molly Coye, CEO of HealthTech, which is managing CalRHIOCoye. Everyone involved in healthcare – from patients and their families to physicians, nurses, and hospital and health plan leaders responsible for cost and quality management – knows that excellence in patient care requires access to critical patient information.

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