Network lets CA med groups locate records

A group of 25-odd California medical practices have come together to create a "clinical message service" designed to help the groups discover and share records. The service, which will tie together groups in rural areas with those in bigger cities, links up practices in Fort Bragg, Ukiah and Lakeport, along with nearby communities in the Mendocino and Lake County region. Planners expect the network's members to share about 4,000 records per year. The project is an extension of the Mendocino Health Records Exchange, which Redwood MedNet has operated since September 2005. The Mendocino HRE is a "health records exchange"--built with the OpenHRE open source EMR toolkit--which meets the specs established by Connecting for Health's Record Locator Service. Drawing on physician feedback, one of MedNet's first planned projects is to find a way to offer secure access to EKG records housed at Ukiah Valley Medical Center.

Redwood MedNet, of Ukiah, is funded by the Blue Shield of California Foundation, and works in cooperation with the Mendocino Department of Public Health and the Alliance for Rural Community Health. As I see it, this is a noteworthy project. The idea of a record locator service, while short of a completely integrated EMR solution, seems very sensible to me, because it gives practices a chance to step forward rather than daring them to take a huge leap. Given the low level of EMR adoption with practices today, perhaps it's better to try out incremental solutions.

Get more background on the MedNet project:
- see the release
- check out the MedNet site