Maine General Health (MGH) EMR

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MGH Electronic Medical Record

Maine General Health (MGH), an integrated delivery network with two acute care hospitals that serves five rural Maine counties, launched an electronic medical record (EMR) in 2002. In an attempt to achieve community-wide improvement in health care quality, safety, access, and cost, MGH made two key decisions [1]:

  • MGH would make the system available for all providers affiliated with the health system, whether owned by MGH or independent.
  • MGH decided a patient’s chart would be shared across all practices to make things safer and more efficient.

By using a single platform in a single database across practices, MGH has achieved interoperability in advance of interoperability standards.

Integrating practice data was seen as the first step toward standardizing and integrating care. Next steps include embedding cost-effective standards of care in the system, increasing investment in collaboration to share responsibility for all the care for the patients, and using this foundation of informatics in a transformative manner.

Implementation began in seven primary care pilot sites in January 2003. In September 2004, the project was augmented by a $1.5 million grant from the Agency on Health Research and Quality (AHRQ). As of 2008, there were 30 participating practices, 100 physicians, 500 users, and 70,000 patients registered in the shared medical record system [3].

In a 2008 presentation to AHRQ, IT Project Director Dan Mingle, MD, MS, stated that “while quality improvements are equivocal, there is no significant change in patient access and no change in cost of providing care, cost of receiving care, or revenue generated from care. From the financial standpoint, the project has not yet shown success, unless the lack of significant loss of productivity can be considered success” [3].