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As the nation prepares to spend $19 billion ramping up electronic medical records, Senator Warner toured the OnePartner Data Center operated by Holston Medical Group (HMG) in Duffield in Scott County. HMG, founded in 1977, has been a regional leader in the use of computerized health records.

HMG's 100 docs and 200 nurses serve about 58,000 patients in SOuthwest Virginia, and HMG officials say their pioneering use of electronic medical records saves $1 million a year in transcription costs and $800,000 in "saved space" savings since they no longer must store thousands of paper records.

HMG officials gave Senator Warner a presenation of their progress.  They said 24/7 access to electronic patient data improves efficiency, reduces medical errors, results in shealthier patient outcomes and lowers medical costs for everybody. HMG was able to be an early leader in developing its technology because of the region's commitment to broadband and fiber-optics.  

Senator Warner told the group of community leaders and health care executives that he believes secure, standardized electronic medical records must be a key component of any national health reform, shifting the focus to the quality rather than the quantity of medical services.