Massachusetts health coalition to launch next phase of EHR project
The Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative is preparing to launch the next stage of the coalitions' $50 million EHR pilot project by asking residents in three Massachusetts cities to let physicians share their EHRs. Residents from Brockton, Newburyport and North Adams, are being asked to participate in the project funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

According to The Brockton Enterprise, the project will send out 175,000 consent forms and project brochures to residents in mid-January. The program aims to begin allowing medical personnel at both of Brockton's city hospitals and 300 area physicians to share patient data, via a secure internet connection, by late February or early March.

Shared patient information could include patients' medical conditions, allergies, lab results and prescriptions. Patients will be able to choose which doctors they want to see their medical data and can withdraw their permission at any time, according to The Enterprise. Medical personnel only will obtain access to the data, which will be available on a need-to-know basis, after completing an intensive training process.

The pilot trial is expected to end on June 30, but the eHealth Collaborative is considering extending it through the end of 2008. Physician practices will have the option of continuing to use the EHR network once the project ends, according to The Enterprise.