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Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - 10:23am

Hospitals To Share Records Electronically

Leaders of Augusta’s major hospitals have been meeting since January to devise a secure way to send electronic medical records back and forth between area healthcare providers.

The effort comes as the state and the country move from paper records toward digital ones with the help of $19 billion dollars in stimulus funds.

Tom Colbert is Chief Information Officer at University Hospital in Augusta which is leading the local effort. He says the switch won’t happen overnight.

"What we think will happen is that metropolitan areas like Augusta and Atlanta or Savannah will create their own local health information exchanges and then those will ultimately be connected to one another and to the state and to the nation," Colbert said.

Colbert says one of the biggest hurdles will be for hospitals in rural areas where access to broadband internet is limited.

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