New Hampshire launches new organization aimed at lowering health insurance and healthcare costs « Health Insurance Advisory

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New Hampshire launches new organization aimed at lowering health insurance and healthcare costs

Author: Administrator | Aug 21 2011 | New Hampshire

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services recently launched its new Health Information Organization (HIO), which will coordinate the Granite State’s public- and private-sector health technology IT initiatives. It’s goal is to ultimately reduce the cost of medical insurance and healthcare in the the state.

This past month, Governor John Lynch signed House Bill 489, which officially established New Hampshire’s Health Information Organization. The bill was the culmination of several years of collaborative planning among more than 80 stakeholders working closely with the New Hampshire General Court.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Health Information Technology led the planning effort with support from the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative and the NH Institute for Health Policy and Practice at the University of New Hampshire.

“Technology should do for the health care industry what it is has done for many other industries, and that’s create efficiency and lower costs,” said Lynch. “By signing House Bill 489 into law that is exactly what we are doing here in New Hampshire. This new law allows the creation of a health information organization, which will mean a faster, easier and more secure transfer of health records, saving time and money, while still protecting patient privacy.”

New Hampshire State Representative Alida Millham added that New Hampshire HIO will “develop a safe and secure pathway for the transmittal of information for clinical decision making purposes,” and called it “an important step in our collective desire for an efficient, effective, safe, accountable, and high quality health care system.”

New Hampshire HIO has been designed to protect the privacy and security of personal health information while creating the infrastructure that will help providers coordinate patient care while reducing administrative costs, officials said.

With the New Hampshire HIO in place, a patient’s primary care provider will be able to securely send an electronic summary of that patient’s medical record to a hospital when the patient is admitted or to a specialist when the patient is referred for a consult. In turn, the hospital or specialist will be able to send a record of the hospital or specialist visit, along with laboratory and radiology results associated with the visit, back to the primary care physician.

Regardless of where a patient receives care, each care provider will have easier and more timely access to needed patient information than they do today and patients can be assured that only authorized providers have access to personal health information.

“Coordinating the multitude of governmental and private sector health technology initiatives is a massive and complex undertaking, even in a small state like ours,” said David Towne, the New Hampshire State Health IT Coordinator. “I envision that the New Hampshire HIO will be a unifying, collaborative organization that will identify and implement cost-cutting “win-win” health IT initiatives that benefit healthcare providers, healthcare purchasers, and most of all, patients.”

“The establishment of New Hampshire HIO is a testament to the vision, dedication, and hard work of healthcare providers, state government leaders, health insurers, and consumers across the Granite State,” added Micky Tripathi, CEO of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative. “A secure statewide network will be a great boost to the individual technological advances that hospitals and physicians have already been making here.”

Patrick Miller, of the New Hampshire Institute for Health Policy and Practice, said New Hampshire HIO “marks an important step forward for New Hampshire,” and a crucial continuation of efforts surrounding ePrescribing and health information exchange begun in 2007. “We are now clearly on the path to a healthcare system that delivers safer, higher quality, more coordinated, and more efficient care with the assistance of technology,” he said.

New Hampshire HIO plans to hold its first board of directors meeting later this month and will begin operating as a private not-for-profit corporation shortly thereafter.

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