Dexter discusses plans for rolling out Oregon’s statewide health information exchange – State of Reform

Rep. Maxine Dexter (D-Portland) discussed plans for rolling out House Bill 4150 initiatives with Oregon health officials Thursday.

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Dexter joined Health Information Technology Oversight Council (HITOC) members during a meeting to discuss the bill. HB 4150 was passed on March 3rd. It will require the Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) HITOC to convene one or more groups of stakeholders and experts to explore options to accelerate, support and improve secure, statewide community information exchanges.

Dexter said the bill aims to provide all Oregonians with high-quality health care by utilizing a statewide electronic community information exchange platform.

“An integrated community information exchange is critical to being able to deliver care, and services to people who have multiple needs at once,” Dexter said.

The plan will help physicians share crucial information. For example, they will have an easier time utilizing services like interpretation assistance while working with patients in the middle of the night.

“We need to be able to understand the needs of the people in front of us,” Dexter said.

The exchange system will also improve transparency and accountability, Dexter said.

“As Oregon continues to innovate in the health and service fields, failure is not an option,” she said. “We need subject matter experts to work together toward a shared vision. We passed HB 4150 as the first step in realizing this vision. This is a fundamental part of my vision for a health care system that is equitable and sustainable. To be successful, we need to break down barriers.”

Carrying out the plan will spark a need for officials to partner with professionals in the private sector, Dexter said.

“It is paramount that the state has the ability to maintain the system,” she said. “We cannot be dependent on a single vendor.”

The bill requires HITOC to provide a health and human services draft report to the legislature by Sept. 15th. A final report on HITOC’s plans regarding stakeholders and expert groups, as well as recommendations for legislative changes to the system–if needed–will be due by Jan. 31, 2023.

OHA Health Information Technology Director Susan Otter said that when staff took part in some of the bill’s hearings, legislators questioned the state’s role in the plan.

“We expect those will be things we want to make sure our report is clear about,” Otter said.

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