A Medical Device Daily

The California Regional Health Information Organization (CalRHIO; San Francisco) reported receiving a $1 million grant from the Sutter Health (Sacramento, California) network of physicians, hospitals and healthcare service providers to advance secure electronic access to medical records in the state.

CalRHIO is a non-profit statewide initiative to improve healthcare safety through the use of information technology and the confidential exchange of health information throughout California.

"This grant provides critical funding to help CalRHIO accomplish its goals," said Don Holmquest, MD, president/CEO of CalRHIO. "We are working to ensure that patients being seen anywhere in the state, regardless of where healthcare services are delivered, will have the most complete information possible available to their care provider."

He cited research indicated that every day in California, 50,000 or more patients may receive suboptimal care because the physician treating them does not have access to critical data.

"As doctors, hospitals, and health systems like ours develop electronic health record systems for patients, it's essential that these information networks are capable of 'talking' to each other, and CalRHIO is leading this effort," said Pat Fry, president/CEO of Sutter.

CalRHIO's HIE Utility Service will offer communities that want to enable their healthcare providers to exchange information an alternative to building and financing their own infrastructure. "For communities that have already initiated local health information exchange efforts, the services offered will be compatible and complementary," CalRHIO said. Providers using the service must be authorized and authenticated and have either obtained a patient's consent or documented an emergency.

Sutter, a family of not-for-profit hospitals, said the grant is part of a multi-million-dollar commitment by the to further pass along savings from tax-exempt bonds to healthcare consumers.