For Physicians, Electronic Medical Records Continue To Pose Challenges

This pair of stories offers insights — based on interviews and a hearing held by the House Small Business Committee — about how physicians are faring as they try to move toward digital systems.

MarketWatch: Digital Health Push Woos Tech Firms, Pains Doctors
Under a government-led effort tied to the 2009 economic stimulus, doctors across the nation will spend on average roughly $40,000 on software to build digital databases of patient records. But even after all that expense, few physicians will be able to send patient records to other doctors who could benefit from having rapid access to medical histories, according to interviews and government advisers. Meantime, dozens of health care technology companies large and small are making their pitch to doctors, to provide patient-history systems where none currently exist at clinics, private practices and other medical offices (Britt, 6/2).

CQ HealthBeat: House Members Challenge Administration To Help Small Physician Practices With Health IT
Lawmakers on the Small Business Committee, including Democrats, questioned Thursday whether the Obama administration is doing enough to assist physicians in small practices who want help complying with new health information technology requirements. The administration' health IT program was created in the 2009 economic stimulus law. The program gives financial bonuses to doctors and hospital officials who adopt electronic health record systems that meet federal standards. Starting in 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin imposing penalties on physicians and hospitals who participate in Medicare that have not adopted electronic health record systems (Adams, 6/2). 

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