John Haughton MD left this thought-provoking follow up to his original post on the Obama administration's health IT plans. ("Stimulus Bill Offers Docs Incentives, But Demands Effective Use")

"Since writing the post 2 weeks ago, the Stimulus bill has now passed.  It does offer the $40K + bonus for "effective use" of a "qualified EHR" (DISTINCT FROM CURRENT DEFINITIONS OF EMRS / EHRS) – The bill specifically targets FIVE AREAs (which by the way are the evidence-based areas associated with HIT and care improvement):  1) Patient Info / History and Problem lists (Structured Data); 2)Clinical Decision Support.  3) Quality Reporting (performance measurement)  4) Ordering (including prescribing)  5) Interoperability (exchange and integrate with other sources).

All of the above can ENHANCE workflow and health by saving time and improviing care.  There is no push in the bill to completely change office workflow – there is a push to enhance patient care. 

The days of the $40K EMR are numbered.  Here's a prediction:  most physicians will spend no more than $10K each over a 3 or 4 year period (2010 – 2013) to acquire and use a qualified system – leaving an increase of dollars flowing into primary care – a great stimulus. What do you think?

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