Georgia hospital starts shift to electronic medical records

Due to the passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act in 2009, medical facilities that can show that they are using EMR software in a meaningful way can receive big bonuses. Those who make the switch this year, for example, can receive $18,000 from Medicare. However, facilities that delay the implementation of this new technology could be hit with penalties for noncompliance in 2015.

As a result, medical facilities across the country are beginning to assess their timelines for the transition. According to Georgia television news provider and CBS affiliate WRBL, Foot and Ankle of West Georgia is one area hospital that is already making the switch.

Adding to the process for this 14-member facility was the fact that it already used a version of EMR software before the law was enacted. Since this software didn't meet the new criteria set forth by the bill, the hospital needed to find another system.

Jeanie Welch, the facility's office manager, told WRBL that the transition is happening one doctor at a time, as each gets used to relying on the software instead of the old chart system. Though, Welch says many recognize the benefits, as it allows members of his staff to view a patients whole medical history with ease.

"Even though it does take a little extra time to load it all down but now you know all the medications, you know the patient’s medical history, you know their allergies so you get a better overall perspective of the patient," Dr. James Bartley, a staff member at the facility, told the news source.

Other small facilities that are looking to make the switch to trusted EMR software – such as products from Medisoft and Lytec – may want to turn to a trusted service provider that can help with installation and make recommendations on the best technology for that particular organization. These professionals can assist with the implementation of top Allscripts and Practice Choice software.