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For Release:
September 22, 2009

Heather Howard

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Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

Commissioner Howard Joins Camden Health Information Exchange


Camden--Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard today joined the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers to announce the creation of an electronic health information exchange that links private doctors, hospital emergency rooms and community health centers as part of a citywide collaborative to improve the care of patients with chronic diseases like diabetes.


New Jersey is taking the lead in coordinating the care of those with chronic diseases and in adopting health information technology,” said Governor Jon S. Corzine. “Camden is quickly becoming a model for improving the quality of health care in America’s cities.”


The Camden Health Information Exchange, the first of its kind in the state, will allow an Emergency Department or primary care physician to access a patient’s recent lab results, radiology reports and discharge summaries. If a patient has recently been discharged from a hospital, a physician would use that information as part of the patient assessment and treatment plan.


“With this real time data at the fingertips of doctors, the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers will now be able to manage patients with diabetes and other chronic diseases much better,” Commissioner Howard said.


“Access to patient data is critical to managing care for chronic diseases—especially diabetes,” the Commissioner added. “Managing chronic disease means coordinating care. It means avoiding the emergency room. It means adhering to prescription regimens, and making and keeping regular physical appointments.’’


Commissioner Howard joined hospital representatives, patients, primary care physicians and Dr. Jeffrey Brenner, medical director of Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, for the announcement today at the Fairview Village Community Center.


The Commissioner commended the efforts of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Poviders, CamCare and the city’s three hospitals—Cooper University Hospital, Our Lady of Lourdes Health System and Virtua Health—for this important effort to improve the quality of care for chronic disease patients.


Electronic health information exchange promotes both efficiency and improved quality of care.


Dr. Brenner said the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers “is working to build a system in Camden that ensures patients receive the personalized, patient-centered care that they need and that their providers have the technology to deliver high quality, coordinated and integrated health care.’’


Similar efforts are underway in several urban areas of the state.


Today’s announcement is part of Minority and Multicultural Health Month. More than 80 health fairs, workshops and other events are ongoing around the state.


The state Department of Health and Senior Services provided $10,000 in grant funding to help with the initiative.

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