Gov. Rick Perry recently issued an executive order creating the Texas Health Care System Integrity Authority, a new public-private partnership that aims for better use of information technology in the health care industry.
The Authority will be responsible for creating a secure electronic medical records system, finding ways to lower insurance prices for small employers, and helping Texas residents shop for doctors and hospitals.
Texas residents can sign onto a new Web site, www.texashealthoptions.com/compare, that allows them to compare health plan benefits, research doctors and hospitals and study the average length of stay and death rates for certain procedures.
The electronic records system is intended to help doctors quickly access information about patients, such as allergies and existing health conditions, so they can best treat them in emergencies. An analysis of Texas' medical response to recent hurricanes indicated that the lack of such a system made it difficult for doctors to treat evacuated nursing home residents.