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Statewide medical record network close to going "live"

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A statewide network of people’s medical records is starting to take shape, almost three years after it was first created.

The network’s CEO, Joe Kachelski, says the system is very close to going “live,” as more hospitals add their data.

The Wisconsin Statewide Health Information Network is a privately-run, non-profit venture. The purpose is to give doctors throughout the state access to the records of as many Wisconsinites as possible.

Advocates say it will be a big help for emergency room doctors who often have very little data about patients from out of their areas.

In the future, officials say the network could provide information about medications and other things to let doctors make better decisions, coordinate care better, and reduce duplicated tests.

The network was founded in December of 2010 with startup funds from the federal economic stimulus program. It replaced a smaller network that was started two years earlier.

The state Health Services Department oversaw the initial planning by a group known as “Wired for Health.” The Salt Lake City firm of Medicity helped design the network.