Uvalde County has become the first county in this region to have all of it's hospitals, clinics, and physicians offices on the new electronic Health Information Exchange system, 1200 WOAI news reports.


  Health Access San Antonio says the move to electronic health records has nothing to do with Obamacare, it is part of a 2009 law called the HITECH Act, which urges all medical personnel to put down the familiar clipboard, shut down the files of paper records which have become a fixture of doctors' offices, and place all health information on line for easy access by patients and medical providers.


  "Next to our banking information, health information is the most valuable and most personal information we all have," said Gijs Van Oort, executive director of HASA. "This allows patient information to travel with the patient, when they are discharged from the hospital, back into the care of their primary care physician or specialist."


  The goal of the plan is to make sure physicians have instant access to a patient's medical records as the patient travels, changes doctors, or simply moves through the health care system.  The plan will also save money by requiring fewer duplicate tests.  Every patient has had the experience of having to undergo testing multiple times because doctors can't find records from previous tests.


  "Patient care is our primary focus, so this was an easy choice," said Valerie Lopez, chief financial officer and interim adminsitrator for Uvalde Memorial Hospital.  "This program provides a huge benefit for patients as well as health care providers.  The continuity of care between healthcare providers and access to readily available, instantaneous information translates into overall better and more efficient care for the patient."