In an effort to improve the flow of electronic health records, many regions are working to establish health information exchanges. The latest among these records-sharing networks is the MetroChicago Health Information Exchange.
The network was established by the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council and will be one of the largest health information exchange networks in the country. It is expected to cover 9.4 million people.
Officials from the exchange said that the system would aid in both efforts to improve individual care, as well as population-based medicine. By providing public health workers with a trove of patient information, the system could lead to significant gains in disease tracking and epidemiology.
"The HIE will be one of the largest in the country and will allow our region's healthcare market to improve efficiency by creating a network where health information flows with the patient, no matter where care is received. The reaction from local hospitals has been overwhelmingly positive," said Mary Anne Kelly, vice president of the council.
She added that 70 percent of area hospitals have already joined the network and will soon begin using it to exchange information.