Electronic medical records have been a priority of President Obama's since his campaign days, if not before. But they're coming to the forefront again now that he is renewing his focus on health care reform.
In the HITECH Act, which is part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, Congress set aside $22 billion "to advance the use of health information technology." Certainly some part of that will go to further the effort toward electronic medical records for everyone. But it's not like that money is already available.
In the meantime, GE Healthcare is offering its Stimulus Simplicity program to help doctors and health care facilities adopt EMR quickly. RTT News reports the company would "ensure certified and interest-free loans with deferred payments for adoption of its EMR products, GE Centricity EMR and Enterprise."
GE will invest up to $100 million in the program, the story says, as well as provide $6 billion in financing.
GE's program appears to be a good one, and I'm sure it will go a long way in helping those who need to implement EMR systems to overcome the cost burden. There's just one problem: No one knows yet what a "qualified system" under the HITECH Act will look like. The standards are still evolving.