Garden State plants e-health seeds

New Jersey agencies are planning an electronic health record system to serve patients, doctors and hospitals statewide, with the effort spearheaded by the state Department of Banking and Insurance.

"Instituting an electronic health records system here in New Jersey will be a massive undertaking yet there is so much incentive to make this project a reality," said Donald Bryan, acting commissioner for banking and insurance, in a statement.

E-health records would improve health care quality and make information available when needed, Bryan said. Such a system could suggest the appropriate medical practices, reduce errors, eliminate unneeded tests and cut administrative costs, Bryan said.

The state has just started to develop its electronic health records projects, said Perry Krasnove, a spokesman for the Banking and Insurance Department. He could not provide a timeline for deployment.

Department officials, Krasnove said, will build on their experience in developing a statewide health care payment network under the direction of its Health Information Networks and Technologies/ Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HINT/HIPAA) Task Force, which will also work on developing the statewide EHR system.

"The HINT/HIPAA Task Force has already established itself nationally and was a major reason why New Jersey was able to successfully deploy the system of electronic health claims required by federal HIPAA legislation," Gov. Richard Codey said. "I am confident that with this project, it will produce results that will take our medical record technology to the next level."

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