Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

Kaufman Praises Delaware Health Network as National Leader

On floor, Senator calls DHIN truly innovative approach to health care record keeping

November 5, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Congress continues to work toward passing landmark health care reform legislation, U.S. Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-DE) praised the Delaware Health Information Network (DHIN) in a Senate floor speech as a national leader in illustrating how information technology can revolutionize the provision of medical care.
 
“Delaware can boast one of the first and best statewide health IT systems, the DHIN is leading the way for the nation.” said Sen. Kaufman. “Right now, more than 50 percent of all the providers in the state participate in the DHIN. More than 85 percent of all lab tests are entered in to the network and 81 percent of all hospitalizations are captured by the exchange.”
 
Sen. Kaufman outlined four tangible benefits of the DHIN, which was authorized twelve years ago and went live in 2007, becoming the first operational statewide health information exchange:
 

It provides a communication system between providers and organizations, something that did not exist previously.


The information exchanged electronically through the DHIN helps improve the quality of care being delivered.


It reduces the cost of care within the health care system. With nearly 650,000 patient records in the system, providers can know what tests and procedures have already been ordered


It can enhance privacy within the health care system. The DHIN is a secure system that can only be accessed by participating providers and organizations.


“While the DHIN is still growing, it has already helped the patient care delivery system in Delaware,” Sen. Kaufman continued. “As it moves to include all providers in the state and works with other states’ information exchanges to share ideas and successes, the DHIN will help lead our country to a widespread adoption of health information technology.”
 
Full remarks, as prepared for delivery:

I appreciate the opportunity to join my colleagues on the floor to highlight health care innovations in our home states that can serve as models for national reform.
 
Delaware is a national leader in health care IT, and I wanted to take a couple of minutes this morning to talk about a truly innovative approach to health care record keeping in my home state of Delaware: the Delaware Health Information Network.
 
The Delaware Health Information Network, which we call DHIN, was authorized 12 years ago, and went live in 2007, becoming the first operational state-wide health information exchange.
 
 A public-private partnership of physicians, hospitals, laboratories, community organizations and patients, the DHIN provides for the fast, secure and reliable exchange of health information among the state's many medical providers.
 
As a result of its early success, the DHIN was one of nine initial health information exchanges selected to participate in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Health Information Network Trial Implementations. And among those nine, it was the first state to successfully establish a connection with the Trial.
 
Right now, more than 50 percent of all the providers in the state—nearly 1,300—participate in the DHIN.
 
More than 85 percent of all lab tests are entered in to the network and 81 percent of all hospitalizations are captured by the exchange.
 
As of June of this year, the DHIN held just over 648,000 patient records, and conducts 40 million transactions per year.
 
Participating providers have a choice of three options to receive lab, pathology and radiology reports, as well as admission face sheets. They can have them sent directly into a secure inbox, similar to an e-mail account. They can have them faxed to their office. Or they can get the results from an electronic medical record interface on the web.
 
All three provide information in a timely manner that protects the privacy of the patient.
 
Our state of Delaware receives four very tangible benefits from DHIN.
 
First, the DHIN provides a communication system between providers and organizations, something that did not exist previously.
 
Individual physician offices can now easily discover if hospitals like Christiana Care, Bayhealth and Beebe Medical Center have admitted their patients.
 
Doctors and hospitals can also get lab results back from the state’s clinical laboratories in a timelier manner.
 
Second, the information exchanged electronically through the DHIN helps improve the quality of care being delivered in the state.
 
When providers have access to better, faster information at the time and place of care, either in a doctor’s office or an Emergency Room, those providers can make better decisions and reduce the chance for medical errors.
 
Knowing what medications a patient is on, or what co-existing conditions a patient may have, can give the provider more complete information when delivering care, reducing the chance for an adverse outcome.
 
Third, the DHIN can help reduce the cost of care within the health care system.
 
With nearly 650,000 patient records in the system, providers can know what tests and procedures have already been ordered, cutting out inadvertent test duplication.
 
In addition, the DHIN can help improve disease management, by allowing multiple providers treating a person to communicate and better align the treatments and prescriptions for a particular patient.
 
Finally, the DHIN can enhance privacy within the health care system. The DHIN is a secure system that can only be accessed by participating providers and organizations. It contains access controls, regulating who can use the network. And it contains audit requirements to ensure there are no breaches in patient privacy.
 
While the DHIN is still growing, it has already helped the patient care delivery system in Delaware.
 
As it moves to include all providers in the state and works with other state’s information exchanges to share ideas and successes, the DHIN will help lead our country to a widespread adoption of health information technology.
 
The stimulus act contained $19 billion to promote the adoption of health IT nationwide, and the health reform effort promises to build on this momentum with even more resources.
 
I think it is essential that health reform boost the integration of information technology like that provided by the DHIN throughout the health care system.
 
As I have said many times, it is time to gather our collective will and do the right thing during this historic opportunity by passing health care reform.
 
We must include incentives to expand the utilization of health information technology.
 
We can do no less. The American people deserve no less.
 
Thank you.

 

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