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South Dakota Assesses Use of Electronic Health Records



October 7, 2006 By

South Dakota will host an electronic health-record assessment conference October 17 at the Sioux Falls Ramkota. The event will also be broadcast live to sites in Chamberlain, Rapid City and Aberdeen and will include an interactive question-and-answer session between the sites.

Federal standards for electronic health records are expected in the next few months and South Dakota is in the midst of its own year-long project moving toward electronic health records, said Secretary of Health Doneen Hollingsworth.

"Doctors, clinics, and hospitals that have immediate access to patient health records are in the best position to make informed treatment decisions for their patients," said Hollingsworth. "Our first step toward that kind of electronic health records system is to assess the current level of use by medical professionals right now. And that assessment will put us in a good position to address the soon to be announced federal standards."

The assessment is a joint effort of the state Departments of Health, Human Services and Social Services working with Dakota State University. The USDSchool of Law is also participating.

The comprehensive assessment will look at health information exchange in both public- and private-sector health-care entities and will consider such factors as business policies and state laws that affect health information exchange, best practices and barriers to those practices, privacy and security issues, and information exchange with regional and national networks. A final report is expected by July 2007 and will include recommendations to overcome barriers and provide a roadmap for future information technology initiatives in the state.

Health-care entities that will be part of the assessment include clinicians, physician groups, federal health facilities such as Indian Health Services and the Veterans Administration, hospitals, payers, community clinics, pharmacies, laboratories, long-term care facilities, hospices, correctional facilities, professional associations, consumer organizations and individuals.

Registration information for the conference is available on the Department of Health Web site.


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