OSMA Launches EMR Standards of Excellence Program

Friday, March 14, 2008 General News
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Program to Ease the Process for Physicians to Select Electronic Medical Record Systems

COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Ohio State Medical Association (OSMA) announced that it is launching an innovative new program, believed to be the first of its kind, to help reduce the risk for physicians who wish to adopt an electronic medical record (EMR) system for their practices.

The Standards of Excellence Program, which is available exclusively to OSMA members, will identify vendors who have voluntarily agreed to include physician-friendly terms in their contracts with medical practices. In addition these vendors are providing OSMA members with preferred pricing. A list of vendors that qualified to participate in the OSMA's program is attached.

Studies show that, aside from costs, practices may be slow to adopt an EMR due to concern about the contracting process. Since a good, workable contract is key to defining practice and EMR vendor rights and responsibilities, the OSMA worked with The Coker Group, a nationally recognized firm that specializes in healthcare consulting, to identify terms and conditions that would help protect physicians' rights in the EMR contracting process.

Craig W. Anderson, MD, President of the OSMA, says that the Standards of Excellence Program will help make the EMR decision-making process much easier and give practices more confidence in their EMR decision: "We are very pleased to be able to offer this ground-breaking program to our members. Not only will members have access to EMR vendors that have physician-friendly contracts, but these vendors also have committed to offering our members discounts on their EMR products. We are very appreciative of the fact that this group of vendors are willing to work with us to encourage the use of EMRs in Ohio."

Jeffery Daigrepont, a Principal with The Coker Group, says 30% of their projects are spent reinvigorating or removing failed EMR systems. He states that the OSMA Standards of Excellence program will help avert much of the risk associated with some of these failures. He also stated, "It says a lot about the vendors who are willing to step up and participate in a program like this. It truly helps level the playing field for physicians."

Both Dr. Anderson and Mr. Daigrepont caution, however, that while standardizing contract terms among vendors is a big step in the right direction, each EMR contract should still be thoroughly reviewed as it may need to include practice-specific objectives that would be impossible to cover in a standard contract.

To help physicians address this issue, The Coker Group is providing an initial contract and quote validation review at no charge to OSMA members. The request must be made through the OSMA.

The OSMA anticipates that its Standards of Excellence Program will be very well received by its members.

"I would like to commend the OSMA for developing such a tremendous program that will help physicians purchase EMR systems. Because EMR systems are such a critical and costly decision, physicians cannot afford to get it wrong. Having the OSMA Standards of Excellence will greatly reduce the risks involved. It would be difficult for us to even consider a vendor that is not willing to participate and agree to the OSMA terms and conditions in the Standards of Excellence Program," said Troy Simon, CEO of Midwest Community Health Associates, located in Bryan, Ohio.

To be recognized as a participant in the OSMA's program, vendors must agree to meet the Standards of Excellence criteria. This includes such items as transfer of ownership of software licenses, amount and timing of deposits and payments, and the cost of future licenses.

Also, at a minimum, the EMR vendors participating in

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