Incentives for EHR Adoption: Pay Now or Pay Later

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) has announced that starting January 2010, healthcare providers will have the option to use electronic health record systems to report Medicare quality and electronic prescribing measures to CMS in some of its pay-for-performance programs. The revisions are designed “to promote adoption and use of electronic health records and to provide both eligible professionals and CMS with experience on EHR-based reporting,” said CMS.

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Incentive Payments for E-prescribing

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In its attempts to widely disperse and advocate the use of electronic prescribing (or more popularly known as e-prescribing), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has begun providing incentive payments of up to 2 percent to eligible physicians and other health care providers using this technology for the year 2009.

According to the Medicare E-prescribing Incentive Program, prescribers using a qualified e-prescribing system began receiving payments from Medicare starting January 1, 2009.  As the years progress, the reward will drop. For 2011, the 2 percent would become 1 percent and further down to 0.5 percent two years later. Eventually, the incentives would be gone by the year 2013 when it is expected that the technology has been completely adapted. Continue reading: Incentive Payments for E-prescribing

E-Prescribing in Rhode Island: Connecting Public Health and Clinical Medicine

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Public health and clinical medicine have different models of care. While little similarities exist between them, health IT may finally present a common thread.

The core principles of public health are focused on preventing and reducing the burden of disease on communities or entire populations. Public health is concerned with health and wellness; prevention of disease; reduction of morbidity and mortality; and identifying and isolating health threats to populations.

The most recent example of public health in action is the identification, control and prevention of the H1N1 (“Swine Flu”) pandemic. Public health professionals must identify and track each case of H1N1 to first, determine how the disease is spreading; second, ascertain how to isolate it; and third, strategize the development and deployment of a vaccine.

Clinical medicine is more concerned with individual health. A physician might receive a rationed number of H1N1 vaccines and disperse the vaccine as a prevention strategy to high-risk patients. Most of clinical medicine is focused on diagnosing and treating disease. If a patient presents to the physician with symptoms of H1N1, they do the blood testing to confirm the diagnosis, and if the results are positive, provide drug therapy to treat the H1N1 virus.

As you can see, it takes both public health professionals and clinical medicine practitioners to both PREVENT and TREAT disease. But because they have different models of care, it’s sometimes difficult for the two disciplines to play nicely together. However, looking at a case study of Rhode Island’s health IT developments, it seems technology in e-prescribing has brought them into accord.

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New features added to the E-prescribing module of CareTracker EMR solution from Ingenix

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Ingenix, the healthcare technology subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, has announced the addition of new features to the electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) functionality of its CareTracker EMR solution. The new Surescripts certified features will allow CareTracker users quick and easy to access patient medication histories and drug benefit information at the point of care.

E-prescribing is a process by which medical practitioners generate and transmit prescriptions electronically to participating pharmacies.  Considering that medication errors are responsible for approximately 7,000 deaths each year in the US, e-prescribing offers an effective way of eliminating errors due to illegible hand-writing of physicians, wrong dosage, and missed drug-to-drug or drug-to-allergy reactions. Continue reading: New features added to the E-prescribing module of CareTracker EMR solution from Ingenix