Whitehouse Secures $450K to Connect Electronic Health Records and Improve Patient Care in RI

 Whitehouse Secures $450K to Connect Electronic Health Records and Improve Patient Care in RI

Improve Patient Care in RI

Funding will support launch of new electronic records initiative through the Rhode Island Quality Institute

Providence, RI – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse today announced that he has secured $450,000 to help the Rhode Island Quality Institute launch a new program aimed at improving patient care by expanding the availability of data from electronic health records in more health care settings.  The Congressionally Directed Spending request was included in the omnibus bill that President Biden signed into law last month.

“Everyone wins when electronic health records are easily accessible to different providers.  Patients get better, more efficient care and there is less waste in the system,” said Whitehouse, who founded the Rhode Island Quality Institute while serving as Rhode Island’s attorney general.  “The Rhode Island Quality Institute has made a real difference in health care over the past two decades, and I’m pleased to deliver federal funds so that its services can reach more patients.”

The Rhode Island Quality Institute operates CurrentCare, Rhode Island’s health information exchange.  The exchange supports access to medical data that enables better care coordination, reduces medical errors and waste, advances quality measurement, and engages patients and families in care decisions.  CurrentCare was the first health information exchange in the nation to develop an independent patient portal.  The exchange won the National Council for Community Behavioral Health’s Impact Award for Excellence for enabling substance abuse and alcohol treatment health data to flow into the health information exchange.

The federal funds will be used to develop, deploy, and evaluate a digital system to improve the quality of care for residents of skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, and hospice and palliative care facilities across the state.  The system will connect with existing electronic health record systems used in different health care settings.  In addition, the Rhode Island Quality Institute will help facilities that do not currently use CurrentCare to adopt it, and provide one-time support to upgrade existing electronic health record systems at Rhode Island hospitals and support information sharing across transfers.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to lead this project that will benefit the many Rhode Islanders with high-need conditions who reside either in skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, or hospice/palliative care facilities.  This project will improve quality of care for these patients and will serve as a model for how public health infrastructure can significantly improve quality of care, improve patient satisfaction, and reduce healthcare expenditures,” said Neil Sarkar, PhD, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Quality Institute.

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