Sep. 1, 2010
CHARLESTON -- Electronic health records (EHR) are expected to reduce medical errors and bring down costs while ensuring privacy, yet the number of U.S. health care professionals that have begun the transition is small.
In July, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary announced final rules to help improve Americans’ health through expanded use of EHRs. Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009, eligible health care professionals and hospitals can qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments when they adopt certified EHR technology and use it to achieve specified objectives.
The incentive programs beginning next year are designed to support health care professionals during this period of transition. Incentives are only available for a limited time, and the legislation includes financial penalties for those who fail to achieve meaningful use of an EHR for Medicare patients by 2015.
The South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium (AHEC) will be hosting four regional conferences for health care professionals and their staff members to offer information about EHRs and health information technology, federal expectations, and health information technology resources in South Carolina. There is no cost to attend these half-day conferences. The first is scheduled for September 17 in Greenville, while the conference closest to Charleston is in Walterboro on November 19.
"The use of electronic health records has the potential to markedly improve the way health care is provided in the future," stated David Garr, M.D., South Carolina AHEC executive director. "The South Carolina AHEC is pleased to assist with this important initiative."
For more information and registration forms, visit www.palmettohit.net.
Founded in 1824 in Charleston, The Medical University of South Carolina is the oldest medical school in the South. Today, MUSC continues the tradition of excellence in education, research, and patient care. MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and residents, and has nearly 11,000 employees, including 1,500 faculty members. As the largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $1.7 billion. MUSC operates a 750-bed medical center, which includes a nationally recognized Children's Hospital, the Ashley River Tower (cardiovascular, digestive disease, and surgical oncology), and a leading Institute of Psychiatry. For more information on academic information or clinical services, visit www.musc.edu or www.muschealth.com.