A) What is Missouri Health Connection?

Missouri Health Connection is Missouri’s statewide health information network that can improve public health and patient care, reduce costs and empower consumers.

B) What is an electronic health record, or “EHR?

An electronic health record (EHR) is a digital version of a patient’s paper chart. EHRs are real-time, patient-centered records that make information available instantly and securely to authorized users.

C) Why are electronic health records (EHRs) so important?

Because your health record tells your health professional about your health history. Your health professional can use that information to give you the best care he or she can. Specifically, the use of standardized electronic health records and the secure exchange of health information will improve health care quality and safety, and reduce healthcare costs by:

-Making health information available to authorized health care providers wherever and whenever a patient gets care, improving the coordination and continuity of care and promoting informed decision-making

-Giving consumers more complete and accurate information to inform decision-making about their own health care

-Reducing preventable medical errors and avoiding duplication of treatments and procedures

-Lowering administrative costs and reducing clerical errors

-Enhancing research by facilitating the collection of standardized data to evaluate promising medical techniques, devices and drugs; and

-Reducing the time it takes to bring safe, effective products and practices to the marketplace.

D) What is health information technology, or “HIT

Health Information Technology (HIT) is information technology applied to health and health care. It supports health information management across computerized systems and the secure exchange of health information between consumers, providers, payers, and quality monitors.

E) What is a health information exchange, or health information network?

A health information network is a system that connects patients, providers, physicians, hospitals and other health care organizations in order to provide access to critical medical record information to improve patient care and increase efficiency.Missouri Health Connection pulls together health information from different systems and allows them to talk to one another.

F) What is the mission of Missouri Health Connection? Why are you creating a health information network?

Missouri is a statewide health information network that:

-Improves the quality of medical decision-making and the coordination of care

-Provides accountability in safeguarding the privacy and security of medical information

-Reduces preventable medical errors and avoids duplication of treatment

-Improves the public health

-Enhances the affordability and value of health care

-Empowers Missourians to take a more active role in their own health care

G) How will the Missouri Health Connection work?

Electronic health records (EHR) exchanged through the statewide health information network will allow a doctor seeing a patient in one part of the state to share or retrieve his/her health information from another health care provider (e.g. hospital, lab, or surgeon) in Missouri, instantly and accurately, to ensure quick, quality care.

H) How is Missouri Health Connection organized and who is involved?

Missouri Health Connection is a non-profit organization overseen by a board of directors including members from state government, private health care organizations, private practice physicians, professional organizations, and consumer advocacy groups.

I) How will Missouri Health Connection benefit me?

With Missouri Health Connection’s health information network, your health professional in one part of the state can share or pull your health records from a health professional you’ve seen in the past in another part of the state. This information can help reduce duplicative lab testing, copays, and facilitate medication reconciliation. All of this can be done right away and accurately to make sure that you get quick and informed care.

J) What is this going to cost me?

Not a thing. As a patient, you will be able to participate in MHC’s network for free.

K) How will this save me time and money?

Electronic health records and the statewide health information network will save money by improving the efficiency and quality of health care. For example:

-Patients and providers will spend less time filling out the same paperwork time and again that slows down the process, adds cost and introduces greater chances for error.

-Common issues, such as duplicate tests, misread prescriptions, and hours (or days) wasted waiting for records to be transferred from one health care provider to the next, will be reduced dramatically.

-Better decision-making by health care providers at the front end, based on complete, accurate and timely patient information, can reduce the need for more and increasingly expensive health care.

L) How will my privacy and security be protected?

Your privacy is important. Your authorized health professional and health care team are the only ones that can view your medical record.MHC’s  system is in compliance with state and federal laws, with specific protocols. Our private, secure network will help make your records safer than ever before. The “paper” system of health records is not always secure in just a locked file cabinet, or sitting out on a desk.MHC does not allow sharing of protected sensitive data such as genetic tests or abortion procedures. MHC remains committed to ensuring federal and state requirements for handling all sensitive data are met.

M) What is meaningful use?

Simply put, “meaningful use” means providers need to show they’re using certified Electronic Health Record (EHR) technology in ways that can be measured significantly in quality and in quantity. There are three stages of meaningful use:

     Stage 1 (2011-2012): “Data Capture”

    Stage 2 (2013-2014): “Data Aggregation and Exchange”

    Stage 3 (2015): “Data Use to Improve Outcomes”.

For more information on meaningful use visit the Missouri HIT Assistance Center’s website or the Office of National Coordinator (ONC)’s website.