New Jersey's 40th Legislative District

Senator Kevin O'Toole

Senator Kevin O'Toole

Bipartisan O’Toole Bill to Integrate Patient Data Now Law

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Health Database Will Improve Health Care Quality, Reduce Costs

Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Kevin O’Toole to create an integrated data system was signed into law by Governor Chris Christie.

Sen. Kevin O’Toole’s legislation creating an integrated data system was signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie (©iStock)

S-3220, will establish the Integrated Population Health Database at Rutgers University’s Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research to collect a wide range of information that would be used to improve health care delivery. It will develop an effective means for improving the health, safety, security, and well-being of high-risk residents and reduce the overall cost-efficiency of programs that address their medical needs.

“Layers of laws and bureaucratic hurdles significantly impede health data access and connections, while increasing costs,” O’Toole said. “Residents, especially those facing complex medical and social issues and those incurring the highest costs, rely on multiple public systems and services. Linking different datasets that already exist within these systems and programs is essential for a holistic understanding of patient needs.”

The law will create the integrated population health data system project. The iPHD will contain data collected by New Jersey administrative departments and agencies related to health and publicly supported programs. The legislation would establish the iPHD Governing Board, in but not of the Department of Health, to approve project-by-project analysis and research.

The Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers has pioneered the concept and practice of using data to improve services.

“Good care needs good data and the integrated population health database legislation is an opportunity to transform NJ’s health care delivery system,” said Dr. Brenner of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers. “The iPHD will create a comprehensive picture of the complex health and social problems faced by our state’s most vulnerable residents, and support smart and innovative policies to improve quality and reduce the cost of health care. I’d like to thank Senator Sweeney, Senator O’Toole and Senator Vitale for their leadership and commitment to the iPHD. It will be a tool to address some of the most important issues in our state, issues that impact New Jersey’s fiscal health as well as the health and quality of life of our residents.”

The new program would provide a centralized system with the infrastructure and resources to provide a more complete picture of what factors are affecting New Jerseyans’ health. By linking disparate datasets, the iPHD would allow these entities to leverage their current data collection efforts without additional burdens. The system would link health data with other social datasets while safeguarding the privacy and security of the data.

The project would reduce duplicative data collection and maintenance efforts and allow for comparison of data for accuracy and reliability. The linkage of the data sources will facilitate the identification of population trends and individual and community-level determinants directly related to the health, safety, security, and well-being patients.

The Center for State Health Policy at Rutgers University’s Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research would house the iPHD and allow access to authorized entities, such as policy-makers, researchers, certified local Medicaid accountable care organizations, private entities or researchers and other public support programs.

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