All Delaware acute-care hospitals to start sharing medical records

    Officials in Delaware say the state is the first to have all its acute-care hospitals signed up for a working health information-exchange system.

    The state’s community health record will allow doctors at any acute-care hospital in the state to access a patient’s X-rays, blood tests, or intake and discharge information almost instantly, no matter where they were first treated.

    Michael Sims, with the Delaware Health Information Network, said the network is useful whenever a patient is treated away from home — say, if he has to go to the hospital while on vacation.

    “That facility will be able to go in and query that person’s medical history,” Sims said. “As a result, there will be a smaller amount of duplicate tests performed … ultimately that’s going to save a lot of money.”

    The state’s 46 skilled-nursing facilities also are included in the exchange.

    The system launched in 2007, and four hospital systems already are sharing data. The last of the state’s acute-care hospitals, which signed up last week, will be inputting medical records by the end of the year.

    “We’re really excited about this,” said Gina Altieri of Nemours, which is now working to start feeding patient records into the system. “I think the state of Delaware is a front-runner and will probably be an example for the rest of the nation.”

    The Delaware Health Information Network said other states have statewide information exchanges up and running, but don’t have 100 percent participation yet.

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