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Home / News & IndustryManaged Care Insight and Analysis
Updated: July 7, 2009
National Physician Education Program On Stimulus And EHRs Launched

Allscripts revealed the formation of a coalition of technology innovation leaders who are partnering to educate 500,000 U.S. physicians about opportunities aligned with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.

The act details President Obama’s plan to improve healthcare quality, safety and efficiency through the secure exchange of electronic health information and the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) and associated technologies. By connecting physicians, hospitals, pharmacies, payers, public health organizations and other stakeholders across healthcare, information technologies such as the EHR can improve the management of chronic health conditions that account for about 75 percent of U.S. healthcare costs, and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of U.S. healthcare.

The EHR Stimulus Alliance – which includes Allscripts, Cisco, Citrix, Dell, Intel, Intuit, Microsoft Corp. and Nuance – marks the first nationwide campaign by a broad coalition of healthcare and technology companies to help physicians explore opportunities associated with the ARRA. Alliance members are sponsoring The EHR Stimulus Tour, an education program with hundreds of planned virtual and physical events for physicians in cities across the U.S.

"Encouraging every physician to use electronic health records is essential to achieving President Obama’s goal of a safer, higher quality healthcare system at a price we can afford," said Glen Tullman, chief executive officer of Allscripts, which is leading the Alliance. "The EHR Stimulus Alliance marks a major step forward in helping more physicians to understand their options for entering the electronic healthcare highway."

Surveys indicate that, while large numbers of physicians are familiar with the basic tenets of the federal incentive program, many do not know the details, including how much money they are eligible to receive, when it will be allocated, how they can qualify, how to meet ARRA’s requirements for information exchange, or the cost of implementing an EHRs. The EHR Stimulus Tour will provide the answers via executive briefings, roundtables, trade show presentations, Webcasts, and local meetings bringing physicians together with Alliance experts and medical groups that have already successfully adopted EHRs.

Signed into law on Feb. 17, the ARRA provides physicians a maximum of between $44,000 and $64,000 in incentives for adopting and demonstrating "meaningful use" of an EHR beginning in fiscal year 2011. Recent studies have demonstrated that physicians who use a connected EHR believe the technology dramatically improves the practice of medicine.

One such survey of 2,758 physicians, published in the June 18, 2008 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, found that physicians who use a fully functional EHR reported the system positively affects the quality of their:

  • clinical decisions (82 percent);
  • ability to avoid medication errors (86 percent);
  • communication with other providers (97 percent) and patients (72 percent);
  • timely access to medical records (97 percent); and
  • the delivery of long-term and preventive care that meets clinical guidelines (82-85 percent).

Under the ARRA, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will pay the incentives to physicians over five years, beginning in fiscal 2011. Physicians who have not adopted certified EHR systems by 2014 will have their Medicare reimbursements reduced by 1 percent beginning in 2015; 2 percent in 2016; and by up to 3 percent in 2017 and thereafter. According to a Congressional Budget Office review of the law, the incentives will drive up to 90 percent of U.S. physicians to adopt EHRs in the next decade.

Address: Allscripts, 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 2024, Chicago, IL 60654; (800) 654-0889, www.allscripts.com.


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