In support of National Health IT Week, observed Sept. 15-19, the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum, a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing health information technology in our state, aims to provide residents with information about what the increased use of electronic health records and health information exchange could mean for health care.

An EHR is an electronic version of the paper charts kept by doctors. It includes clinical information that may help them diagnose and treat patients. Unlike paper records, which can be lost, stolen or damaged, EHRs are designed so that only authorized providers can access information, and only from authorized locations.

In Louisiana, we can consent to having our EHRs shared through the Louisiana Health Information Exchange, a secure, electronic system that enables our information to move with us as we seek care from enrolled providers at authorized locations. LaHIE is designed to reduce repetitive medical procedures, tests and paperwork while ensuring the availability of information, regardless of where in the state we seek treatment.

Louisiana stands on the threshold of dynamic improvements in its health care system through advancements in health IT. By providing our state with a strong health IT infrastructure, we are well-positioned to overcome our long-held rankings as among the highest in per capita costs and the lowest in clinical quality and health outcomes.

To learn more about EHRs and LaHIE, please talk with your health care providers or visit www.lhcqf.org.

Cindy Munn

CEO, Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum

Greenwell Springs