The city is leading the way in how your medical information is stored and used, but this is still controversial technology that privacy proponents worry will lead to abuse, possibly by health insurers or others.
All doctors, clinics and hospitals in the metro area will soon have access to this community-shared IT infrastructure that will store all of your medical information. Dr. Anjum Khurshid with the Crescent City Beacon Community (a non-profit partnership of local providers run by the Louisiana Public Health Institute) says these systems save the healthcare system valuable resources like time and money, improve patient care, cut down on potential drug interactions, even help eliminate pharmaceutical abuse such as doctor shopping.
"We expect as we roll this out more hospitals, more physicians, more practices will connect to this so they can provide better care for their patients," says Dr. Khurshid.
The GNOHIE will enable patients to receive a more seamless level of care as they transition between various doctors and facilities. Through the collaborative of clinics and hospitals in the GNOHIE, a complete medical picture will be created and shared more quickly and easily. Instead of the fragmented records most individuals currently have spread among their various doctors, a full patient history, including prescriptions, will be available to physicians at the click of a button.
Another benefit, anytime you're admitted to the ER or hospital, your doctors will have access to your health history and current medications.
As for the worries about privacy issues, Dr. Khurshid says, "It's for the purpose of treatment and for improving quality. Those are the HIPAA laws, and that's what we'll abide by in the Health Information Exchange."
Although proponents list many potential benefits, controversy still surrounds these high tech ways of gathering and dispensing your personal medical information. As even the Pentagon and other high levels of government have had their systems hacked in recent years, some patients worry about the security of such a system.
"So the way we have done this is the data which is available is all encrypted and that encryption code is extremely difficult, impossible to break. So we have done in the health information technology area, this has been a far higher priority than in any other business. And there are laws that of course make it essential," says Dr. Khurshid.
Secretary of Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Bruce Greenstein and City Health Commissioner Karen DeSalvo will do a live demo of the GNOHIE at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, November 14, 2012, at Daughters of Charity Health Center Bywater Location, 1030 Lesseps St.