New York’s primary care providers now can get technical assistance from the two newly designated regional extension centers in the state which have received $48.2 million in federal grants to help them adopt electronic health records to improve patient care. Beginning immediately, providers can get step-by-step help implementing electronic health records in their practices, along with an opportunity to qualify for federal incentives of up to $63,750. Electronic health records allow clinicians to record patients’ medical information in a digital format, giving them and their staff faster access to crucial information when needed.
To make sure providers in New York don’t get left behind in the nation’s move to digital health records, the state’s two new regional extension centers are kicking off an ambitious program to help them deploy electronic health records (EHRs). “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,” explained David Whitlinger, Executive Director of the New York eHealth Collaborative, one of the state’s two regional extension centers tasked with helping clinicians in the state implement digital medical records to enhance patient care.
“With one of the nation’s largest health care systems, New York State is leading the way for the adoption of electronic health records,” said Dr. Amanda Parsons, Assistant Commissioner of the Primary Care Information Project at the New York City Health Department. Dr. Parsons oversees the state’s other regional extension center which helps providers in New York City obtain assistance to deploy electronic health records, the New York City Regional Electronic Adoption Center for Health (NYC REACH) program established by the NYC Health Department’s Primary Care Information Project. “We deploy EHR technology to improve health care and save lives across our health care system.”
During the next month, seven free events will be offered throughout the state to inform primary care providers about these programs, educate them about the value of electronic health records and explain the assistance they can get through regional extension centers (RECs). The “EHR Meaningful Use Summits” will be sponsored by the RECs, as well as 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,” urged Whitlinger. “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.”
The latest data shows that electronic health record adoption is picking up rapidly, with an estimated 27 percent of physicians using some kind of EHR, compared with 17 percent in 2007 and 21 percent in 2008. “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 Dr. 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.”
The first of the seven summits will be held on May 13 at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge. The all-day event will feature healthcare leaders at the national, state and city levels who will explain how EHRs will help transform health care. Afternoon break-out sessions with health technology experts will cover topics ranging from new models of patient-centered care to the details of how to qualify for incentives for Meaningful Use of EHRs to enhance patient care. Additionally, health care providers can see hands-on demonstrations of EHRs by preferred EHR system vendors with which the regional extension centers already have arranged pre-negotiated discounts for qualifying primary care providers.
“It’s crucial for health care providers to learn how to leverage electronic health records to improve patient care, and we are committed to giving them the concrete guidance they will need to do this most effectively,” said Rachel Block, Deputy Commissioner for the New York State Office of Health Information Technology. “EHRs will help improve quality of care for New Yorkers while boosting efficiency and enhancing patient satisfaction. Today’s health care consumers expect and deserve to receive care that is safe, convenient and tailored to their needs.”
Primary care providers can register at www.nyacp.org/EHRForm to attend one of the following day-long events:
- New York City: May 13 at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge
- Long Island: May 14 at the Huntington Hilton
- Buffalo: May 20 at the Adams Mark Hotel
- Syracuse: May 21 at the Doubletree Hotel
- Binghamton: May 22 at the Ramada Hotel and Conference Center
- Albany: June 2 at the Marriott Albany
- Tarrytown: June 4 at the Marriott Westchester
“Electronic health records are rapidly becoming the cornerstone of our modern health care system, marking the shift from yesterday’s paper records to today’s digital information age,” said Thomas Tsang, Medical Director, Meaningful Use, The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). “We are working closely with national, regional, state and city stakeholders across America to create a connected health care system that harnesses technology to enhance efficiency and improve health care outcomes for all.”