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Kansas’ online medical records networks to connect, starting Thursday

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, at 10:09 a.m.

The two electronic health information exchange networks in Kansas will connect Thursday, which will allow participating medical providers to access patient records statewide, according to exchange officials.

The Topeka-based Kansas Health Information Exchange, which holds records across Kansas, will connect to the Lewis And Clark Information Exchange, which is primarily used in the Kansas City metro area.

The two networks have to connect before Dec. 31 or lose about $1 million in federal funding.

Leaders of both networks say they are confident the connection will work for providers.

Health care providers pay a small fee to be part of the exchange, and statewide, there are more than 4,900 providers participating in KHIN, officials said.

“We feel good that it’s going to work and work as projected, but the proof is in the pudding,” said Mike Dittemore, executive director of the Lewis and Clark exchange. “We won’t know until users are accessing the data.”

“We will literally flip the switch and all that hard work then starts to actually come together and the information starts to flow back and forth between the exchanges.”

The connection has been tested for the last two months, said Laura McCrary, executive director of KHIN.

“It will be exciting and beneficial for everyone across Kansas,” McCrary said of the connection.

She said it will be particularly beneficial for children across the state since their doctors will now be able to have access to records from Children’s Mercy in Kansas City if they have to go there for care.

“Hopefully folks take advantage and utilize the connection and it will get stronger and have more things able to share as time goes on and the technology gets stronger,” Dittemore said.

LACIE has access to more than 1.8 million records and in August, KHIN hit a million records and continues to add about 50,000 each month, McCrary said.

Reach Kelsey Ryan at 316-269-6752 or kryan@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @kelsey_ryan.

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