Virginia, Microsoft set up electronic health care registry

Virginia has launched a statewide electronic registry that will let residents store an advanced health care directive to provide their preferences in the event they are unable to express their own wishes during a health care crisis.

The registry is designed to accommodate medical power of attorney, do-not-resuscitate orders and other health care documents authorized by the patient.

The application is a joint venture of the Virginia Department of Health, health care systems integrator Unival Inc. and Microsoft, whose HealthVault electronic health information portal allows people to store and control access to their personal health records.

Virginia Health and Human Services Secretary William Hazel pointed out that the advanced health directive was unique to the Commonwealth, “in that there is no cost to registry users."

The electronic registry will be linked to Virginia’s Health Information Exchange, a statewide project partially supported by federal funds that would provide a network over which patients, health care providers and insurance payers could swap key health records and treatment data.

Patient health records will be stored within Microsoft HealthVault, and the registry's user interface is based on the Microsoft Dynamics customer relationship management system.

“The registry will help increase the likelihood that an individual's health care wishes are known by family members or friends and health care providers," said State Health Commissioner Dr. Karen Remley. "It makes that information readily accessible when needed in order to ensure that the individual's expressed wishes are honored."

Each Virginian who signs up for the registry receives an identification card containing their personal registry information so health care providers can access their information if necessary. They may also share their PIN with friends, family and health care providers, allowing them access to their information.


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Paul McCloskey is editor-in-chief of GCN. Follow him on Twitter: @Paul_GCN.

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