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Electronic Record Sharing Project Plans To Expand

— The VA Medical Center and Kaiser Permanente in San Diego have begun to share electronic medical records. It's the first step in a larger project that may go nationwide.

Reform-minded physicians say making medical records digital and portable will save money and lives as doctors have better access to important treatment information. Kaiser Permanente in San Diego is already sharing electronic records with the VA Hospital in La Jolla. The Department of Defense Hospital in Balboa Park will soon join the partnership.

Dr. John Mattison, of Kaiser, said that's just the beginning. He said the partners are already discussing a way to do a geographic roll-out which could dramatically expand the program.

"The roll-out is relatively trivial from a technical standpoint," he said. "The tough part is identifying the patients who are most likely to benefit and enlisting them to opt in for the service."

Mattison added that getting patients' consent to share records needs to become a less laborious process.

Audio

Aired 1/6/10

The VA Medical Center and Kaiser Permanente in San Diego have begun to share electronic medical records. It's the first step in a larger project that may go nationwide.

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