Electronic Health Records Improve Care for Texas Foster Children On the Record, Off the Charts (GT) Stock art

At the Center for Public Policy Priorities, an Austin, Texas-based nonprofit policy watchdog, Policy Analyst Stacey Pogue said they're "cautiously optimistic" about the Health Passport. Access and security issues are potential concerns, she said, if they aren't flagged by Superior's usage reports. In addition, while state records feed most of the data automatically, some inputs - including allergies and vital signs - must be manually entered, which makes it possible they'll be incomplete. "Hopefully providers have someone entering it every time they discover an allergy, but it does take some time to enter those," Pogue said. "Even if they don't, it's a lot better than what they had before. I think it will be a really great tool."

While the HHSC studies passport-user satisfaction, it'll also be preparing a report for the Texas Legislature on the feasibility of expanding the program to all Medicaid users. Some of the Health Passport's features are unique to foster children - i.e., information about caseworkers and some health assessment forms - but most of the medical data would be the same. "The application itself, and the platform it resides on, could certainly support a lot more end-users," Cody said. "The challenge there would be multiplying by 100 times the number of different information sources."

The HHSC's Sanchez said a number of states are looking at electronic health records driven by medical claims, though none have implemented a system for foster children like Texas. Cody said Superior's parent company, Centene Corp., is looking into adapting Texas' Health Passport to its second-largest network, Georgia's Peach State Health Plan.

"There is no other Health Passport like this in the U.S. at this point. We were the first ones to do something of this scale for an entire Medicaid population," Cody said.

 

Patrick Michels  |  Contributing Writer
Patrick Michels is based in San Francisco and Austin, Texas. He writes for Government Technology, Texas Technology and Emergency Management magazines.