A two-day summit in Altoona for health care providers to talk about electronic medical records wraps up today. Susan Brown is the director of I.F.M.C., a company that helps medical providers with the process that is sponsoring this “e-Health Summit.”
She says the theme is “Health I-T the time is now,” as she says there is a big national push and in Iowa to see health care providers adopt electronic health records. “Because we believe that it improves patient care and safety and care coordination across settings,” Brown says.
I.F.M.C. medical director, Tim Gutschall, says large hospitals in the state are using electronic record systems, but there are least prevalent in offices of doctors. He says about 35% of primary care offices use electronic records, which he says is a significant increase over the last couple of years.
Gutschall says we are likely at a tipping point where more providers are going to be expected to have those systems. Brown says the federal government is making it a priority to help providers go electronic. Brown says the cost has always been cited a barrier for doctors and hospitals to make the move to electronic records, but she says the federal government is “releasing unprecedented amounts of money into this effort to move this agenda forward.”
Gutschall says finding a way for the different electronic systems to work with each other has also been a problem. He says that’s were federal officials probably have their biggest value, as they will create bodies that work to develop standards so all the different computer systems in different clinics and hospitals can speak to each other. This is the seventh year for the e-Health summit.