Blagojevich announces launch of Web portal to keep patients in state
Web portal now allows physicians treating Medicaid patients to view
past prescriptions, immunizations and procedures
Send a link to a friend
[May 14, 2008]
CHICAGO -- Gov. Rod R.
Blagojevich announced Friday that the Illinois Department of
Healthcare and Family Services has launched an improved version of a
secure Web portal that will keep patients safe and potentially save
lives by reducing the risk of medical mix-ups. The Medical
Electronic Data Interchange system, or MEDI, will allow doctors
treating Medicaid patients to view patient information that includes
medication and immunization histories, previous lab orders,
hospitalizations, and other medical procedures. By providing more
information to doctors, the program should decrease redundant care
and reduce medical errors.
Studies have shown that medical mix-ups result in hospital stays and
emergency room visits. Last year, more than 1.7 million patients
filled more than 21.8 million prescriptions through the state's
Medicaid programs. A recent study done by Pediatrics found that
medication mix-ups harm approximately one out of 15 hospitalized
children. Many of these medical errors could be prevented if doctors
had been able to view other medications their patients might be
taking. This new Web portal will help reduce the number of medical
mix-ups by allowing doctors to view their patients' previous medical
procedures, immunizations and medications.
"It is important that people have access to quality health care
that is affordable. It is just as important that patients are safe.
When someone is seeing more than one doctor, it increases the
chances for medical mix-ups," said Blagojevich. "Now, doctors will
be able to use this secure Web portal to look at the different
prescriptions a patient might be taking and procedures a patient may
have undergone. This Web portal will keep patients safer and
continues our goal of making sure people have access to quality
One of the most valuable components of the Web portal is that it
allows doctors to view prescription histories for their patients.
One Northwestern University study of patients taking blood pressure
medication found that 40 percent of patients who were considered
"functionally health literate" were unable to name their
medications. Of those patients judged as being without adequate
health literacy, 65 percent were unable to name their medications.
Having a reliable medication list when a patient arrives in the
emergency room, doctor's office or clinic will help physicians make
more informed decisions about what medications to prescribe.
Further, this new program will also allow doctors to determine
whether their patients are filling the prescriptions they have
ordered, and they can offer appropriate intervention if the patient
is not taking the medication.
Many health systems are also employing or developing electronic
medical records, which provide even more comprehensive patient
information, such as test results, for doctors to review in the
field. Illinois' secure Web portal is one step in the state's
efforts to promote the use of best practices in the development of
health information exchange.
"The state of Illinois has been a leader in providing quality
health care to its citizens while also working to keep costs down.
This new Web portal furthers both of those efforts," said Barry
Maram, director of the Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
"By using state-of-the-art technology, we are employing innovations
that will ultimately help change the practice of medicine in
[to top of second column]
Physicians who are participating in the state's Medicaid programs
and have obtained a digital certificate through the state will be
able to log onto the secure MEDI system. Doctors will now be able to
view two years of patient prescription histories, immunizations,
previous medical visit dates, diagnoses and medical procedures. That
information can potentially reduce duplicative tests, redundant care
and potential medical errors, particularly for those patients
receiving treatment from numerous doctors or health care providers.
There are more than 2.2 million patients currently enrolled in the
state's Medicaid programs.
"We know from some of our prior work that patients are often
unable to name the medications they are on for chronic diseases such
as hypertension or other chronic illnesses. And care is frequently
fragmented between several different providers, so having the
ability to look up drugs that have been prescribed to a patient may
offer an important advantage in terms of safety and achieving the
goals of treatment for many important diseases." said Dr. Stephen
Persell, M.D. and M.P.H. at Northwestern University.
Numerous security measures were integrated into the Web portal to
protect patient privacy and ensure quality of care. The site is
password-protected, and passwords into the system are not known to
anyone else on the system, including the system administrator.
Further, only those health care providers who have registered to use
MEDI by signing a strict confidentiality agreement are able to view
information. When a registered user accesses the system, their
digital information is recorded, generating a log of who is
accessing the system. Consequences for anyone who does not comply
fully with the MEDI user security agreement can range from
suspension or termination from Department of Healthcare and Family
Services medical programs up to criminal prosecution under
With this development, Illinois joins several other states
providing claims-based health information exchange for Medicaid
beneficiaries, including Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana,
Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont and Wisconsin. Approximately 20
other states have similar projects under development.
[Text from file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]