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State sets up first electronic medical data exchanges

Maryland health officials said they have opened the first connections in the statewide health information exchange - a system that gives doctors and other medical professionals computerized access to patients' records.

The initial connections are among hospitals and other medical facilities in Montgomery County. But it is expected to spread rapidly through the state with 48 hospitals having signed up to join the system.

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The system allows doctors immediate access to patient records. Advocates hope it will help cut down on medical mistakes, particularly during an emergency.

It links physicians, hospitals, medical laboratories and pharmacies.

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Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients built the exchange. The organization is a nonprofit collaboration among Erickson Retirement Communities, Johns Hopkins Medicine, MedStar Health and the University of Maryland Medical System.

The Montgomery County hospitals and other medical facilities wired into the system are: Holy Cross Hospital, Suburban Hospital, Montgomery General Hospital, Quest Diagnostics, Laboratory Corporation of America, American Radiology Services and Community Radiology and Advanced Radiology.

Several other providers and services will connect in the next few weeks.

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