Two health IT extension centers in New York state have begun work helping primary care physicians convert from paper to digital records.
The centers, which received $48.2 million of federal stimulus money, are among 60 across the country that will offer providers step-by-step help implementing electronic health record systems in their practices. The implementation and use of digital records will position the practices to be eligible for federal incentives of up to $63,750.
"Our goal is to help approximately 10,000 primary care providers in the State of New York adopt EHRs within two years to enhance patient care and the efficiency of their practices," said David Whitlinger, executive director of the New York eHealth Collaborative, one of the state's two extension centers.
"With one of the nation's largest healthcare systems, New York State is leading the way for the adoption of electronic health records," said Amanda Parsons, MD, assistant commissioner of the Primary Care Information Project at the New York City Health Department.
Parsons oversees the state's other regional extension center, the New York City Regional Electronic Adoption Center for Health (NYC REACH), a program established by the NYC Health Department's Primary Care Information Project.
During the next month, seven free events will be offered throughout the state to inform primary care providers about the programs, educate them about the value of electronic health records and explain the assistance they can get through regional extension centers (RECs).
Meaningful use summits
The EHR Meaningful Use Summits will be sponsored by the extension centers and the New York Chapter of the American College of Physicians.
"The federal subsidies supporting adoption of EHRs will be available only for a couple of years, so it's important for primary care providers in New York to act now to take advantage of these programs while there are still funds available," Whitlinger said. "These free summits are a great way for clinicians to learn more about all the resources available to help them implement electronic health records in their practices. The sooner they start using EHRs to enhance patient care, the more stimulus funds they can earn."
"More than two-thirds of U.S. ambulatory physicians work in solo or small group practices, and this program will help providers in small practice settings, community health centers, public hospitals and settings that treat underserved populations implement electronic health records to enhance care for their patients," said Parsons. "Our team of experts can provide valuable hands-on assistance to providers every step of the way, from evaluating and selecting an electronic health record system to implementing it most effectively to improve patient care and qualify for federal funds."