Paul Markovich: 'We Need a Secure, Electronic Health Information Network'

There is an urgent need to reform the health care system, which is too expensive and leaves millions of Americans without the care they need at a sustainably affordable price.

While there are many changes we are recommending to help Californians receive better care and expanded coverage, we cannot achieve a health care system worthy of our family and friends unless we bring the system fully into the digital age. 

This issue is getting a lot of my attention, and the attention of health care leaders, for very good reasons.

I recently spoke at the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in Orlando, Fla., to emphasize the importance of working together now to achieve real progress and create a state-wide health information exchange in California. 

Just as there is a highway infrastructure for commerce and an electricity grid for power, we need a secure, electronic health information network that breaks down silos between health care providers.

A few of the many important and badly needed benefits are:

  • Improved patient safety
  • Reduced readmissions and prevention of unnecessary admissions
  • Reduced redundant, unnecessary tests/procedures
  • Increase efficiencies where services often back up, such as emergency departments and at discharge
  • Ability to follow up with patients as soon as they are discharged from the hospital or an emergency room visit

The attached video animation explains how it works:

We are investing millions of dollars to help build this network. We are a supporter of Manifest MedEx, an independent, nonprofit patient information service, based in Emeryville and Riverside, Calif., that is uniquely positioned to provide this service for Californians.

Manifest MedEx’s health information network unlocks important clinical data from providers and integrates it with the breadth of claims data from payers for the first time. The organization’s goal is to provide health care organizations the information they need to make health care decisions faster and more accurately, reducing the administrative and data burden that’s frequently expressed by our providers.

It’s making a difference and having an impact. Manifest MedEx is already the largest nonprofit health information exchange in the state, handling more than five million patient records, and with an increasing number of major providers signing up.

I am confident that the more you learn about this initiative, the more you will understand its significance for improving the delivery of care when we need it most.

For more information on this initiative, please visit our News Center site at to follow our progress.