Electronic Health Records For The U.S. Difficult To Do, But Could Pay Off

"Creating an electronic health record for every American by 2014 is a big part of Obama's agenda but it may be easier said than done," CNN Money reports. "For one, the cost can be prohibitive - easily running into the tens of millions of dollars. Getting physicians on board can be challenging. And the sheer magnitude of implementing the technology can be overwhelmingly cumbersome - translation: try creating a system for a hospital that serves 600,000 patients." The ambitious idea is to eventually create a network between hospitals and doctors offices all across the nation (Goldman, 7/31).

Separately, IBM, a company that provides health IT services, has joined forces with UnitedHealth Group to test a medical home payment and care delivery model in Arizona, the Arizona Republic reports. Under the program, IBM is providing consultants to help doctors install electronic medical records and prescribing capabilities. "Under the UnitedHealth program, doctors... could be paid 15 to 20 percent more than the insurer's conventional rates. Participating doctors will collect a monthly fee for each patient enrolled in the program to cover the costs of coordinating care," the paper says.  The idea is to encourage them to provide a level of care that keeps patients out of the hospital (Alltucker, 7/31).

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