The federal government has given Maryland’s health IT plan the go-ahead, making the state one of three recipients of recent approvals from the Department of Health and Human Services to develop health records exchange.
Washington Business Journal reported the state will now be able to begin spending part of the nearly $25 million in Recovery Act health IT grants to develop the health information exchange. Advocates of the exchange say it will cut costs and improve healthcare quality by facilitating the transfer of electronic health data between healthcare providers and patients.
According to Scott Afzal, program director of the Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients, the organization responsible for implementing the exchange, work has already begun with $10 million in state money. The federal approval leaves the plan’s funding “fully unrestricted,” allowing an expansion of the goals of the exchange and engagement of more hospitals.