Due to the passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, medical healthcare providers nationwide have until 2016 to make the transition to electronic medical records. At that point, they face penalties for continuing to rely on handwritten notes and paper files to store the records of patients. However, many facilities are already undergoing this transition to gain monetary incentives in addition to the workflow benefits this type of technology can offer.
In Indiana, Methodist Hospitals – which manages a network of Indiana healthcare outlets in Crown Point, Gary, Merrillville and Griffith – began this transition before the national legislation passed, but this does not mean doctors at its facilities found updating their EMR software any easier. Matt Doyle, the chief financial officer of the organization told the Northwest Indiana Times that the process was a massive undertaking.
Other healthcare providers are just now making the switch to digital records, but some are already seeing benefits. Speaking with the news source about why her facility made the switch, Mary Brewer, the director of healthcare IT at Porter Healthcare System in Porter County, said, "Porter intends to move forward to implement systems that will be put to measurable, meaningful use."
She added that the systems have been proven to enhance the communication facilities see between their workers and quality of the care patients experience. Her facility now keeps information current with other systems, so that databases now include records from a patient's X-rays, pharmacy visits and hospital charts.
While hospitals in the area can gain incentives through the implementation of this new tool, doctors in Indiana who make the switch are eligible for tens of thousands of dollars for the upgrade. Using these funds, smart facilities can invest in a software – such as those from Medisoft, Lytec, Practice Choice and Allscripts – that comes with a built-in support system of experienced professionals.