At Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, old paper-based files are slowly being replaced. Florida is one of the first states to help doctors and hospitals adopt a new way of transferring patient information. The idea behind the Health Information Exchange Network, run by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, is "the exchange is the highway, the electronic record is the car," according to Heidi Fox, who is directing the effort.
Individual providers can look up patient records held by a participating provider. When a doctor needs the file, it can be sent through encrypted messaging - the "highway."
For the last three years, Florida has been building the network. Right now, three small systems in the state are using it, and the goal is to expand to every health care provider in the state.
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Sources: Kaiser Health News; National Public Radio (NPR); WFSU-FM