13 Jul Electronic health records: A Texas model
The Obama administration this week will outline what the nation’s doctors and hospitals must do to qualify for billions of dollars in government support to adopt electronic patient records. The most closely watched part of the announcement will be further definition of what the economic stimulus legislation called the “meaningful use” of digital health records.
The draft due Thursday from the office of the national information technology coordinator, Dr. David Blumenthal, will not be the final word. There will be time for public comment, and lobbying, until the end of the year.
But the work done so far by Dr. Blumenthal and his team, health experts say, is encouraging. The tentative plan, they say, calls for a requirement that physicians and clinics be able to first report health quality measures, like blood pressure and cholesterol levels of patients. Then, step by step, year by year, the administration foresees moving health providers from electronic reporting to being reimbursed for better health outcomes, such as a higher percentage of a doctor’s diabetes patients keeping their blood sugar levels at recommended levels.
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