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Vitale-Buono Bill To Promote ‘Treatment Over Paperwork’

Statewide Medical Information Database Would Make Medical History Paperwork a Thing of the Past

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senators Joseph F. Vitale and Barbara Buono which would establish a Statewide health information technology plan was approved by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee today by a vote of 6-0.

“As technology advances, we have been able to streamline nearly every facet of our everyday lives,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex, the Chair of the Senate Health Committee. “However, when it comes to medical records, we are still in the dark ages, and have to fill out a detailed medical history every time we visit a new doctor, hospital, pharmacy or other healthcare facility. By establishing a secure, Statewide network of medical information, health care professionals from High Point to Cape May will have the same medical information on a patient at their fingertips, and be able to focus on treatment, rather than paperwork.”

“There is absolutely no reason, with current technology, that patients need to fill out medical information forms at every point of care in the Garden State,” said Senator Buono, D-Middlesex, a member of the Senate Health panel. “With the latest technology, we can establish a better model for medical information in New Jersey, and put an emphasis on patient care.”

The bill, a Senate Committee Substitute for S-2728, known as the “New Jersey Health Information Technology Development, Implementation and Deployment Act,” would create a statewide IT infrastructure for the sharing of medical records among health care professionals. The bill would establish the Office for the Development of Electronic Health Information Technology (e-HIT) within the Department of Banking and Insurance, and charge the Office with establishing and maintaining a secure medical information infrastructure. The bill would also establish the New Jersey Health Information Technology Commission to approve any statewide health information technology plan and make annual reports to the Legislature and Governor on the issues facing the development and deployment of the Statewide medical records infrastructure.

“During times of Statewide emergency or natural disaster, having up-to-the-minute medical information on a patient can mean the difference between life and death,” said Senator Buono. “With access to a Statewide medical information database, health care professionals would be able to see existing medical conditions, drug allergies and other pertinent information and adjust treatment accordingly. This legislation will serve as a crucial tool in New Jersey’s emergency preparedness toolbox.”

“In addition to cutting down on nuisance paperwork and making New Jersey better-equipped to meet the needs of its citizens in an emergency, a Statewide medical information database would cut down on medical errors resulting from incomplete or inaccurate medical histories,” said Senator Vitale. “When a patient who is ill or injured is required to fill out a medical history before seeing a doctor, sometimes, mistakes can happen which affect the treatment they receive. However, with a Statewide database, health care professionals would have access to accurate, up-to-date medical information to make the best decisions for their patients.”

The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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