New York Center is paying doctors to convert to electronic health records and subsidizing the cost of implementation. President-elect Obama pledged during his campaign to spend $50 billion over five years on electronic health records. The New York Times gives a good overview with a couple of examples of the advantages of ehr to the doctor, the patient and to the general population (as to why the city is subsidizing the cost).

We know that at these fancy schmancy systems, they can do these things. But here in New York, we’re trying to do this for the storefront in Harlem,” said Dr. Farzad Mostashari, a health department epidemiologist who is spearheading the New York effort. “As of now, about 2 percent of solo and small practices have electronic health records. This is really hard stuff to do. We have boots on the ground.

For the doctor, it helps him quickly review the patients record.

Particularly for less experienced doctors, the system provides what Dr. Jesse Singer, a health department records expert, described as CliffsNotes-style advice on how to handle medical problems based on a patient’s age, sex, ethnic background and medical history. It prompts doctors to provide routine tests and vaccinations, advises them on appropriate treatment and medication for certain conditions, and warns of potentially dangerous drug interactions.

When given access patients can interact with the doctor’s office electronically, too.

They can request appointments electronically, check lab results or chart how well they are doing in, for instance, controlling cholesterol, blood pressure or blood sugar.

Many in the medical world have long chafed at the notion that patients should not see their charts, and city health officials see the interactivity as a potentially powerful tool to push patients to take more responsibility for their well-being. Just seeing a readout of their vitals at various intervals could help, Dr. Singer said.

One thought on “NYC paying doctors to convert to EHR

  1. The New York Health Department effort to subsidize electronic health records in smaller clinics and doctors’ offices is a good step toward the larger goal: portable health records for all patients. When every doctor, nurse, specialist, and therapist can access and supplement the same health record, we can better coordinate consistent, quality care.

    This effort in New York City works in conjunction with a pilot project by CMS to encourage use of electronic health records in rural areas. Governments can play a role in driving adoption. More information at http://www.healthcaretownhall.com.

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