Health Information Technology (Health IT) holds out the promise of improving healthcare for individuals both in the community and in correctional environments. Moving from paper records to electronic health records (EHRs), many jails have achieved some level of continuity of care for individuals cycling in and out of facilities, making it easier to locate records from previous stays.
Health Information Exchange (HIE)
But healthcare within corrections even for those facilities with EHRs are isolated from the rest of the community. One technology that can help promote continuity of care between corrections and the community is health information exchange (HIE). Multiple HIEs have been implemented throughout the country. These HIEs can be statewide, regional or local. EHRs connected to HIEs share their medical records with the HIE as well as allowing providers to see medical records generated in other sites of care. Given the high morbidity rate of people cycling through jails, HIEs can assist providers in corrections be better informed about the care they are giving.
The Unseen Provider
Health Information Exchange between Jails and Their Communities: A Bridge That Is Needed under Healthcare Reform
Electronic Health Records and Human RightsElectronic Health Records (EHRs) not only provide ready access to a person’s health records promoting continuity of care but can also help track abuses that might occur within corrections.
The EHR as a Human Rights Tool
HITECH and Meaningful UseAlthough corrections is isolated from the rest of the community sometimes policy changes or legislation will impact this environment. This is especially true with the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) and its Meaningful Use incentives for the adoption of EHRs. In some jurisdictions, this legislation helped to promote the adoption Health IT within jails.
The Impact Of Policies Promoting Health Information Technology On Health Care Delivery In Jails And Local Communities
Electronic Medication Administration Records and Other Technologies
Many jurisdictions have used technology in innovative ways to face the challenges of healthcare within corrections. COCHS has highlighted many of these implementations including predictive analytics, electronic medication administrative records, and interfaces between jail management systems and health IT.