Hospitals, doctors offices now able to share patients’ health records

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(KDVR) -- Maggie Lamitie is feeling fine now, but a few months ago she had quite a scare with her heart.

“I knew there was something really wrong and I knew I needed attention right away,” Maggie said.

She rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital, a facility she had never been to before.

But St. Joseph’s is part of a hospital system that shares electronic health records.

In a situation where every second counts, the ER doctors at St. Joseph’s were able to see all of Maggie’s records at the University of Colorado Hospital, and treat her quickly.  “I thought it was a wonderful system, and I was grateful,” she said.

Now that kind of record sharing is expanding.

The University of Colorado Hospital announced Tuesday it will connect to Colorado’s Health Information Exchange, run by the Colorado Regional Health Information Organization, or CORHIO.

The CEO, Dr. Larry Wolk, says 40 hospitals and more than 1,000 doctor’s offices are already joining in with the goal of improving care.

“All of the information is captured, all of the information is easily accessible, so it’s better care for the patient and it’s less expensive for the health care system because no longer do we have duplication of tests,” Dr. Wolk said.

While some patients may have privacy and security concerns,  Dr. Wolk says the system is encrypted and records are more secure than financial information.

Plus patients can opt out.

But doctors say very few have chosen to do that. Most see the benefits.

“It’s a very big deal,” said Dr. C.T. Lin at the University of Colorado Hospital. “Patients go to emergency departments all over town all the time, and very frequently when patients come to see us they have bits of paper and very often they have misunderstandings for what needs to be followed up on,” Dr. Lin said.

Under this system, the information is all right there on the screen.

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