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EHR Community Applauds Washington's Pragmatic Progress Toward Health IT

Wednesday, July 14, 2010 News on IT in Healthcare J E 4
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SAN FRANCISCO, July 14 With today's release of the final rules for Meaningful Use of EMRs, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have created a clear and achievable path for widespread Electronic Medical Record (EMR) adoption in the US. Fundamentally aligned with this mission, Practice Fusion's free, web-based EMR makes it easy for doctors to transition from paper charts to electronic medical records.

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The interim set of Meaningful Use criteria, originally released by CMS on December 30, 2009, set forth visionary and arguably rigid goals for the use of health information technology (HIT) in the US. During a 90-day open feedback period with over 2,000 comments received from the medical sector, some expressed concerns they would be unable to meet all the originally proposed standards. Yesterday's revisions have relaxed certain criteria and provided additional flexibility for providers to select which standards to meet, ensuring that medical professionals can meet the new guidelines and qualify for HITECH incentive payments.

"In healthcare, paper kills. Paper needs to be eliminated from medicine. Washington's pragmatic and achievable Meaningful Use standards for physicians help us get one step closer," said Practice Fusion CEO, Ryan Howard. "We are proud to have participated in this process and confident that our community will be able to meet the new standards. Health IT adoption will rise dramatically as a result of these guidelines combined with affordable, easy-to-use EHR systems - and that's good news for every provider and patient."

Key points:

"The widespread use of electronic health records (EHRs) in the( )United States is inevitable," said David Blumenthal, MD, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, at the launch. "EHRs will improve caregivers' decisions( )and patients' outcomes. Once patients experience the benefits( )of this technology, they will demand nothing less from their( )providers. Hundreds of thousands of physicians have already( )seen these benefits in their clinical practice."

Under the stimulus plan, EMR incentives are inspiring a monumental shift from paper charts to EMRs over the next five years. The new criteria set the stage for future wide health information exchange including electronic immunization data to national registries, and reporting trend data to public health agencies. In 2009, the American Medical Association estimated that there were over 800,000 physicians in the U.S. In the same year, only 6.3% of physicians reported having a fully functional EMR system in place according to the CDC.

Practice Fusion's expert sources and physician users are available for response to the new criteria. The company can also grant free demo EMR accounts to journalists. Visit EHRbloggers.com for more updates and analysis on Meaningful Use.

About Practice Fusion

Practice Fusion provides a free, web-based Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system to physicians. With charting, scheduling, e-prescribing, billing, lab integrations, unlimited support and a Personal Health Record for patients, Practice Fusion's EMR addresses the complex needs of today's healthcare providers and disrupts the health IT status quo. Practice Fusion is the fastest growing EMR community in country with more than 43,000 users in 50 states. The company is backed by Salesforce.com and Morgenthaler Ventures. For more information on Practice Fusion, please visit practicefusion.com.

About ARRA

On February 17, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law a plan for economic recovery designed to pull the United States out of a deep recession. Encompassing $789 billion in funding for stimulus programs, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) included $19 billion under the HITECH Act to promote the adoption of Electronic Medical Record (EMR) technology in healthcare. Individual doctors and eligible medical providers can receive $44,000 or more for "Meaningful Use" of an EMR system starting in 2011.

Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link.

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Ryan Howard

-- The requirements for Meaningful Use incentives are now divided into 15 mandatory core criteria and 10 additional menu criteria, of which providers need to meet five. -- The percentage of medical procedures and documentation that must be carried out using an EHR has been lowered for many criteria. -- In order to qualify for $44,000 or more in stimulus plan incentives, physicians must meet the Meaningful Use criteria using an HHS-certified EMR system. -- The HHS certification process for EHR systems has just been defined and vendors will begin certification in the fall. -- Practice Fusion was one of the first vendors to guarantee HHS certification. -- Practice Fusion's free, web-based EMR is used by 43,000 medical professionals in the US, largely in small medical practices.

SOURCE Practice Fusion
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