UPDATE: Check out more specific details on Obama’s EMR stimulus package.
UPDATE 2: Many of you will find my presentation on the ARRA EMR Simulus money of interest.
Details about Obama’s health care stimulus package are out. I prefer to call it Obama funds EMRs for medical practices. Here’s a summary of some proposed changes via HISTalk and John Glaser, VP and CIO at Partners HealthCare System (and thanks to Chris Paton for linking me there).
- Provision of $40,000 in incentives (beginning in 2011) for physicians to use an EHR
- Creation of HIT Extension Programs that would facilitate regional adoption efforts
- Provision of funds to states to coordinate and promote interoperable EHRs
- Development of education programs to train clinicians in EHR use and increase the number of healthcare IT professionals
- Creation of HIT grant and loan programs
- Acceleration of the construction of the National Health Information Network (NHIN)
He also adds. “All of these changes (and more) are accompanied by the infusion of $20B into the healthcare sector. To put this in perspective, in 2007 the HIT industry in the US was $26B (Gartner).”
It’s also important to note like John did that this is still just proposed legislation. In the next 30 days it will be turned upside down. However, what we can guarantee is that the government is going to make a huge investment in health care IT and in particular EMR and EHR software. Man, big EHR and EMR vendors must be licking their chops right now.
The funny thing is that I mentioned this investment in EMR to my wife’s OB/Gyn and she started to laugh. She said, “Like the government’s ever done anything to help the provider.” While I think the response was a bit jaded, you could tell that she sincerely felt like the government wasn’t going to help her get an EMR and honestly I don’t see her ever changing to one.
However, the perspective that the health care IT industry was $26B in 2007 and they’re looking at investing $20B really jumps out at me. It goes back to my thought that there aren’t enough health care IT, EMR, and EHR professionals out there right now. Can the health care IT market really support an infusion of $20B right now? I have my doubts. Of course, I don’t think that’s going to stop anyone in Washington. Plus, I find the possibilities for someone like myself who has experience incredibly exciting.
I’ll save my details response to these points for posts of their own, but it’s going to be a really interesting next couple months as we watch Obama’s investment in health care come to fruition. Of course, this assumes that the money doesn’t just get stuck in the political process and never actually makes it to the doctors who need the money to implement an EMR and EHR.