Schools, Systems Get More Funding To Expand Electronic Medical Records

The (Allentown, Penn.) Morning Call: Beginning next year, doctors and hospitals that share computerized medical records "including a list of prescriptions, drug allergies, doctor visits, and test results — will qualify for a share of $1.5 billion in incentives from the federal government. By 2015, those that don't will face Medicare funding cuts." The plan, a major part of the health reform effort, is aimed at saving money and reducing errors, but "fewer than 1 percent of hospitals surveyed by the American Hospital Association in January said they could meet the proposed requirements at the time they were surveyed. The region's two largest health care providers, St. Luke's Hospital & Health Network and Lehigh Valley Health Network, believe they can get systems in place in time to collect the federal incentives" (Torrejon, 4/26).

The Greenville (S.C.) News: Stimulus money has helped many systems, and recently $5.6 million was "awarded to Health Sciences South Carolina with a goal of getting 1,000 primary care doctors in the state to adopt the new electronic medical records system." The money in that state will be used to set up the "Center for Information Technology Implementation Assistance. … DHHS recently got a $9 million grant for its statewide health information exchange, which gives hospitals, doctors, clinics and other health care providers access to medical records." Health Sciences South Carolina is a university and hospital partnership (Osby, 4/26). 

Aurora (Colo.) Sentinel: The University of Colorado nursing school also received $2.6 million in stimulus funds to expand its own use of EMRs. "According to officials from the College of Nursing, the $2.6 million will be used in the college's Colorado Health Information Education Collaborative. The money will go specifically to train new employees in the shift to electronic records. The college will offer three specialized training courses that will last about a year, and will also implement master's degree training that will span two years and require a thesis or a research project in information technology" (Goldstein, 4/25).

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