Hospitals Struggling To Prove 'Meaningful Use' Of Electronic Health Records

"Eight out of 10 hospital CIOs recently surveyed by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) LLP said they're concerned they ... won't qualify for federal reimbursements for rolling out" electronic medical records, Computerworld reports. Last year, the federal government set aside $36 billion in stimulus funds "to help hospitals and doctors purchase equipment to computerize patient medical records, but even the most sophisticated hospitals in the country are struggling to qualify for the payments, PwC's study indicated. Clinicians and hospitals that deploy the technology and prove that it meets a set of government 'meaningful use' standards showing it's being effectively used can receive up to $44,000 per doctor in reimbursement funds beginning next year" (Mearian, 6/30).

In Wisconsin, "Gov. Jim Doyle last month signed the Wired for Health Act," setting "in motion the planning and development of how a medical record sharing system will operate and who will manage it," the Green Bay Press Gazette reports. Denise Webb, a representative with the state Department of Health Services, "thinks a working statewide system may be more than a year out. ... Doyle said the state will receive $9.4 million for planning and development of a statewide network through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The act also clears the way for health systems to be eligible for an additional $500 million to $800 million in federal incentives to help establish and use electronic medical record systems" (Avila, 6/30).

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