Doctors Gone Digital

Going in for a checkup with your physician? You’ll probably see a screen, too.

WALSENBURG, CO - AUGUST 05: Office Manager Christy Forsyth unloads doctors notes to be inserted into medical files at the Spanish Peaks Family Clinic on August 5, 2009 in Walsenburg, Colorado. The Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center, which treats rural residents from throughout southern Colorado, plans to move to an electronic health records system before the end of 2010. Administrators say they expect the costs of upgrading the system will eventually be recovered through federal funds, as part of the overhaul of the nation's healthcare system.
National Journal
Clara Ritger
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Clara Ritger
May 19, 2014, 8:05 p.m.

Scores of fil­ing cab­in­ets con­tain­ing thou­sands of pa­tient med­ic­al re­cords are dis­ap­pear­ing in­to the cloud.

Use of elec­tron­ic health re­cords sys­tems in doc­tors’ of­fices has doubled in re­cent years, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port re­leased Tues­day by the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion.

In 2012, 72 per­cent of of­fice-based phys­i­cians re­por­ted us­ing elec­tron­ic health re­cords, up from 35 per­cent in 2007, the CDC says.

The re­port finds that ad­op­tion of elec­tron­ic health re­cords was high­er among young­er phys­i­cians com­pared with older phys­i­cians, among primary-care phys­i­cians rather than spe­cialty doc­tors, and among lar­ger prac­tices than smal­ler.

This di­git­al re­volu­tion among doc­tors is driv­en in part by the stim­u­lus bill, which cre­ated a sys­tem for in­cent­ive pay­ments to Medi­care and Medi­caid phys­i­cians who could use elec­tron­ic health re­cords to im­prove pa­tient care.

While there’s plenty of an­ec­dotes of pa­tients ir­rit­ated by their doc­tors look­ing at a screen dur­ing their ap­point­ment, early evid­ence shows us­ing elec­tron­ic health re­cords can im­prove health out­comes. On­line sys­tems can re­mind phys­i­cians when pa­tients are due for vac­cin­a­tions and pre­scrip­tion re­fills, as well as of­fer a com­plete snap­shot of the pa­tient’s health his­tory so that doc­tors can make more in­formed de­cisions about treat­ment.

The Of­fice of the Na­tion­al Co­ordin­at­or for Health In­form­a­tion Tech­no­logy is help­ing guide im­ple­ment­a­tion of the Hitech Act re­forms. Led by Kar­en De­Salvo, the of­fice is cur­rently nav­ig­at­ing the pro­cess of get­ting dif­fer­ent elec­tron­ic health sys­tems to talk to each oth­er — a pro­cess known as in­ter­op­er­ab­il­ity.

“We have made im­press­ive pro­gress on our in­fra­struc­ture, but we have not reached our shared vis­ion of hav­ing this in­ter­op­er­able sys­tem where data can be ex­changed and mean­ing­fully used to im­prove care,” De­Salvo said at a re­cent health in­form­a­tion-tech­no­logy con­fer­ence.

With elec­tron­ic health re­cords sys­tems be­ing put to use in thou­sands of doc­tors’ of­fices na­tion­wide, the next step is to be able to trans­fer pa­tient data across sys­tems, al­low­ing pa­tients with com­plex con­di­tions to share their med­ic­al in­form­a­tion with spe­cialty doc­tors and hos­pit­als.

What We're Following See More »
ANOTHER NUCLEAR OPTION?
Byrd Rule Could Trip Up Health Legislation
16 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Even if House Republicans manage to get enough members of their party on board with the latest version of their health care bill, they will face another battle in the Senate: whether the bill complies with the chamber’s arcane ... Byrd rule, which stipulates all provisions in a reconciliation bill must affect federal spending and revenues in a way that is not merely incidental." Democrats should have the advantage in that fight, "unless the Senate pulls another 'nuclear option.'”

Source:
ONE WEEK
Senate Votes To Fund Government
1 days ago
BREAKING
ON TO SENATE
House Passes Spending Bill
1 days ago
BREAKING

The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.

PRESIDENT CALLS MEDICAID FUNDS A “BAILOUT”
Puerto Rico Another Sticking Point in Budget Talks
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."

Source:
POTENTIAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN?
Democrats Threaten Spending Bill Over Obamacare
2 days ago
BREAKING

Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login