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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

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For Immediate Release: March 3, 2008

Senator Jim Wilson
Sen. Jim Wilson explains SMRTNET program at the State Capitol Monday,
flanked by Rep. Mike Brown and Chief Principal Investigator for SMRTNET Mark Jones.

Lawmakers Say Medical Data Network Would Save Hundreds of Lives, Millions of Dollars

If only half of all Oklahoma health care providers would participate in an existing electronic medical data sharing network, within five years the state could save more than $145 million and avoid more than 400 deaths. That’s according to Sen. Jim Wilson and Rep. Mike Brown who are advocating greater participation in the program. The network, called SMRTNET for “secure medical records transfer network,” was created through federal grants.

“Medical errors are expensive, and they’re the eighth leading cause of death in this country,” said Wilson, D-Tahlequah. “We could eliminate many of those mistakes, improve care and save tax dollars if more of our health care providers were taking advantage of this data sharing network.”

Brown said greater participation in SMRTNET would result in significant healthcare savings without adversely affecting patients.

“The overhead administrative cost of providing healthcare in our state has risen to over 23 percent, but other attempts at cutting costs have targeted eligibility, what procedures are covered or reducing provider fees, all of which results in less access to medical care for our citizens,” said Brown, D-Tahlequah. “By utilizing the technology of SMRTNET, we can save millions of dollars without reducing access to healthcare.”

The lawmakers said the secure shared medical data network would result in savings through the reduction of duplicate medical orders and lab tests, as well as savings from abuse and fraud.

“We have $114 million less to appropriate this year. We need to take advantage of every tool at our disposal to find and eliminate waste and save taxpayer dollars,” Wilson said. “This system is already in place—we just need to encourage more healthcare providers to participate. It’s a win-win program for patients, for providers and for our taxpayers.”

For more information contact:
Senator Wilson's Office:  (405) 521-5574

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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