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January 15, 2006

Louisiana to develop electronic health records system

Looking to improve current patient information systems, the Louisiana Department of Health is using a $3.7 million grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services for the development of a prototype for an electronic information exchange system, according to The Advocate.

By CBR Staff Writer

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and the havoc it created with hospitals’ paper medical records, Louisiana care providers have decided to develop a more reliable patient data system.

According to The Advocate, the information exchange system will be similar to a site set up immediately after the hurricane that allowed doctors and other healthcare providers to access patients’ prescription records.

Louisiana Medicaid medical director Roxane Townsend told The Advocate that the information exchange system will carry much more detailed patient information. In the case of an emergency, healthcare providers will have easy access to a person’s lab tests and results, medical history, physicals, hospital visits and prescription information.

Most of the grant money is expected to be spent on developing an interface, allowing secure communication between different systems. The Advocate reported that the state’s health department hopes to award the subcontracts for the project by the end of January 2006.

The named subcontractors include STC, an information technology group; software giant Oracle Corp; Healthworks of Louisiana, a management services company; Tulane University; and the LSU Health Care Services Division.

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