Montana Healthcare Conference Focuses On Patient Data Sharing

Dec 6, 2016

A lot of the major players in health care in Montana got together today to work on sharing patient data digitally.

At a meeting convened by the Montana Medical Association, a health information technology expert from Oklahoma talked about how his state created a system to easily share patient data. That isn't happening much in Montana because privacy laws forbid simply emailing health records, among many other reasons.

But Dr. David Kendrick said that sharing patient data is only becoming more important, especially as many people now routinely see more than just one doctor.

"Patients deserve to have their full record available when decisions are made about their care," Kendrick said.

Montana has tried to set up a health data sharing network before, but it didn't work. Now, insurance companies, hospitals, physicians and others are trying again. Their goal is to set up a new non-profit to run the network, in part because there's evidence that better information sharing can lead to lower health care costs. The Medical Association's two-day meeting wraps up Wednesday afternoon.