FARMINGTON — Franklin Memorial Hospital is one of 15 in Maine taking part in an online network that will share and exchange patient health care information electronically.

Maine’s HealthInfoNet network is being tested in the hospitals, said Ralph Johnson, chief information officer at FMH.

The benefit for the patient is that doctors have immediate access to information from other hospitals, Johnson said. “They don’t have to wait for a radiology report to be faxed and are able to respond quickly to patient needs. It’s not uncommon to wait two to three hours for a report to be faxed. Now they will have it at their fingertips,” he said.

Johnson has been involved with the project since a 2004 feasibility study was done. From that, the idea of Maine’s nonprofit HealthInfoNet network was developed. The network makes Maine the largest statewide electronic health information exchange. Only Delaware and Vermont have similar statewide exchanges in operation.

Availability of information for better treatment decisions is expected to reduce health care costs as HealthInfoNet provides patient information quickly, helping caregivers eliminate duplication of tests, procedures, prescriptions and hospital admissions.

A large database, secured with multiple layers of protection, he said, consolidates information from records that have previously been separately maintained in physician practices, hospitals and laboratories.

During this demonstration phase, the hospitals and one physician practice at Martin’s Point have access. Franklin Memorial’s part is to prove that a small rural hospital can participate, he said. After the demonstration, the system will be expanded to the other 24 hospitals in Maine.

Included in the program now are the four large health systems: MaineHealth with Maine Medical Center in Portland, Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway, Miles Memorial Hospital in Damariscotta; Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, Bridgton Hospital, Rumford Hospital; Eastern Maine Health Systems of Bangor; and MaineGeneral Health in Augusta.

Health information technology is a major element of the nation’s emerging health reform strategy, a hospital statement said. The announcement of HealthInfoNet’s intent to “go live” this summer coincided with a visit last week to Maine Medical Center by Dr. David Blumenthal, the Obama administration’s top health information technology official, who came to observe how the new system will be used.

[email protected]

Participating health systems, hospitals


 Four Major Health Delivery Systems and Affiliates (listed below)
Central Maine Healthcare, Lewiston
Eeastern Maine Health Systems,
Brewer
MaineGeneral Medical Centers, Augusta and Waterville
MaineHealth,
Portland

Independent, Multi-Site Primary Care Physician
Practice

Martin’s Point Health Care

Rural
Hospital

Franklin Memorial Hospital, Farmington

The Maine Center for Disease Control

Participating
Rural and Urban Hospitals (15)

Aroostook Medical Center, Presque
Isle
Blue Hill Memorial Hospital, Blue Hill
Bridgton Hospital,
Bridgton
Central Maine Medical Center, Lewiston
Charles A. Dean Hospital,
Greenville
Eastern Maine Medical Center, Bangor
Franklin Memorial
Hospital, Farmington (independent hospital)
Inland Hospital,
Waterville
MaineGeneral Medical Centers, Augusta and Waterville
Maine
Medical Center, Portland
Miles Memorial Hospital, Damariscotta
Rumford
Hospital, Rumford
Sebasticook Valley Hospital, Pittsfield
Stephens
Memorial Hospital, Norway
St. Andrews Hospital, Boothbay
Harbor

Martin’s Point
Sites

Bangor
Brunswick
Portland

Total
Demonstration Phase Participants:
2,070, including 15 hospitals listed
above and more than one third of the practicing physicians in state.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.