Thursday, March 12, 2009

Health Care Reform and Information Technology

Health Care Reform and Information Technology

One of the key initiatives in the stimulus plan is Health care reform. This revolves around establishing electronic health records, which potentially can reduce medical errors, and improve care by making vital information more accessible to care providers.

One of the large hurdles of adopting this plan is the cost to implement. The stimulus plan at least provides the funding to begin the process of designing a solution.

Problems with Doctors and cost vs. profit ratio:
The electronic records imitative will benefit patients, employers, and government agency, but not the actual health care provider. The electronic health records system (EHR / EMR) will decrease revenues for providers by cutting down on unnecessary procedures and test. In theory, any test results would be shared among all provides, thus eliminating duplicate services. In the eyes of many, this will decrease revenue and profits, which eliminate any incentive to implement program.

The small medical practices, which make up a large percentage of doctors, see few benefits for them. Better health care could mean less patients and revenue. The cost to adopting (EHR) could run from 20,000 to 50,000 and the practice would see very little in return for this investment.

In addition to the investment, there also is a large learning curve to use (ERH) system. Most established practices would rather use a chart and prescription pad and stay as status quo.

The stimulus package provides incentive to implement (EHR). Hospital and practices submitting via (EHR) to Medicare Medicaid will receive an additional 6 million / year in additional payments to send data electronically.

There should be many opportunities for work related to designing, rolling out initiative, and providing training and support for the program. I will review details in next post....

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