Wisconsin gets wired for health

Yesterday, Wisconsin signed into law the WIRED for Health Act, a bill that will put the state on the path toward adopting secure electronic medical records. Under the new law the state hopes to avoid duplicative patient tests, improve health outcomes and cut costs.

The state is using funds allocated under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to build the electronic medical record infrastructure. Wisconsin has qualified for $9.4 million to build the statewide network. Under the new law hospitals will also be able to qualify for incentive payments between $500-800 million to help them build their internal electronic medical record systems.

“If someone from La Crosse gets sick in Milwaukee, they should be able to access all of their own personal medical information electronically,” Governor Doyle said. “Without it, doctors have to run tests that have already been done, raising both the costs and possibility of errors. Creating an electronic exchange where medical records can be safely shared and patients’ privacy rights can be protected is a critical part of reforming health care in America.”

The new law will also create a framework for a public-private partnership that will coordinate and govern the implementation of the statewide network. The state also hopes that the creation of the exchange will lead to skilled job growth in the state.

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