EMRs in the Mix

December 18th, 2008 | Sources: OhMyGov!

OhMyGov! reports that Senator Michael Enzi (R-WY) may try to slip some favorable health IT language into the fiscal stimulus package Congress hopes to have on the Big O’s desk the day he’s sworn in.

Enzi is—along with 15 other Senators—a co-sponsor of Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy’s bill proposing to accelerate national adoption of electronic medical records. That bill, known as the Wired for Health Care Quality Act has languished for 18 months due to cost and privacy concerns.

It now seems inevitable that EMR-friendly legislation will be folded into any national health care reform initiative, which has itself gained momentum in the last month.

That way, the Big O can check his arugula levels on the Blackberry and besides, according to a survey done this October, Americans support a national EMR system and even believe the Feds should set guidelines and standards for it, especially regarding access to medical information by third parties.

Even George W. Bush thinks they’re cool. He issued an order in 2005 the gist of which was that most Americans ought to have access to EMRs by 2014.

The Big O had pledged during the campaign to invest $50 billion in health IT.

The Department of Health and Human Services believes EMRs can reduce medical errors and unnecessary procedures, hasten diagnosis and treatment, improve the use of screening procedures, improve doctor-patient communication and reduce health care costs.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has implemented financial incentives to encourage EMR utilization, and the federal government already maintains EMRs at the Veterans Health Administration and the Department of Defense with combined records on 10 million Americans.


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