The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) today announced the launching of the State’s Health Information Organization. Governor John Lynch recently signed the House Bill 489, a collaborative bill with over 80 stakeholders, officially establishing New Hampshire’s Health Information Organization (NH-HIO) that allows for the development of a safer, more secure, and more efficient electronic pathway for patient health records.
Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is announcing the launching of the State’s Health Information Organization. In a recent Statehouse ceremony Governor John Lynch signed House Bill 489 which officially established New Hampshire’s Health Information Organization (NH-HIO). HB 489 is the culmination of several years of collaborative planning among more than 80 stakeholders working closely with the New Hampshire General Court. DHHS’ Office of Health Information Technology (OHIT) led the planning effort with support from the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative (MAeHC) and the NH Institute for Health Policy and Practice at the University of New Hampshire (UNH).
“Technology should do for the health care industry what it is has done for many other industries, and that’s create efficiency and lower costs. By signing House Bill 489 into law that is exactly what we are doing here in New Hampshire,” Gov. Lynch said. “This new law allows the creation of a health information organization, which will mean a faster, easier and more secure transfer of health records, saving time and money, while still protecting patient privacy.”
“This new law institutes an organization to develop a safe and secure pathway for the transmittal of information for clinical decision making purposes,” said New Hampshire State Representative Alida Millham. “The planning process for this legislation and been long and careful. It represents a process that included all the stakeholders and worked to represent all the needs for such a structure. This is an important step in our collective desire for an efficient, effective, safe, accountable, and high quality health care system.”
NH-HIO has been carefully designed to meet the goals of protecting the privacy and security of personal health information while creating the infrastructure that will help providers coordinate patient care while reducing administrative costs. For example, with the NH-HIO in place, a patient’s primary care provider will be able to securely send an electronic summary of that patient’s medical record to a hospital when the patient is admitted or to a specialist when the patient is referred for a consult. In turn, the hospital or specialist will be able to send a record of the hospital or specialist visit, along with laboratory and radiology results associated with the visit, back to the primary care physician. Regardless of where a patient receives care, each care provider will have easier and more timely access to needed patient information than they do today and patients can be assured that only authorized providers have access to personal health information.
“Coordinating the multitude of governmental and private sector health technology initiatives is a massive and complex undertaking, even in a small state like ours,” said David Towne, the New Hampshire State Health IT Coordinator. “I envision that the NH-HIO will be a unifying, collaborative organization that will identify and implement cross-cutting “win-win” health IT initiatives that benefit health care providers, health care purchasers, and most of all, patients.”
“The establishment of NH-HIO is a testament to the vision, dedication, and hard work of health care providers, state government leaders, health insurers, and consumers across the Granite State. A secure statewide network will be a great boost to the individual technological advances that hospitals and physicians have already been making here,” said Micky Tripathi, CEO of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative.
“The launch of NH-HIO marks an important step forward for New Hampshire on a path that started with Governor John Lynch’s and the NH Citizens Health Initiative’s efforts surrounding ePrescribing and health information exchange between 2007 and 2009,” said Patrick Miller, NH Institute for Health Policy and Practice, University of New Hampshire. “We are now clearly on the path to a health care system that delivers safer, higher quality, more coordinated, and more efficient care with the assistance of technology.”
NH-HIO plans to hold its first Board of Directors meeting later this month and will begin operating as a private not-for-profit corporation shortly thereafter.
For more information about DHHS’ OHIT visit www.dhhs.state.nh.us/hie/index.htm; for information about the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative visit www.maehc.org; and for information about the NH Institute for Health Policy and Practice visit: http://chhs.unh.edu/nhihpp/index.html.