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Monday, July 11, 2011 - 2:51pm

Hospitals Test Electronic Records

A Georgia non-profit wants to see if cancer patients can help drive the use of electronic medical records.

A $1.7 million federal grant is helping the Georgia Cancer Coalition fund pilot programs at Rome's Floyd and Redmond Medical Centers and Harbin Clinic.

Cancer patients at the facilities will soon get electronic versions of their medical records and x-rays.

Those who want to participate can post the information to a secure online profile called a Personal Health Record, or PHR.

It can then be accessed by healthcare providers, family members and anyone else the patient wants.

Philip Lamson with the cancer coalition says he hopes the program will convince more people to sign up for electronic medical records.

"If you look at PHR acceptance right now it's very very low. And the idea is that we want more and more patients engaged in the management of their own care."

Cancer coalition vice president Alan Wills says if the program succeeds, it could be expanded beyond cancer patients.

"If we empower patients to take control of their health information and their health care then presumably that's going to drive improvements in quality as well as drive out of the healthcare system potential duplicative costs."

Wills says things like paying for multiple x-rays wouldn't be a problem if records could be transmitted quickly and securely online.

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