Implementing electronic health records requires transformation of a medical practice. It’s more about workflow and change management than technology. In Massachusetts, competitive pressures, pay for performance contracts, and increasing demands from specialists to be connected to primary care givers are motivating clinicians to install electronic health records. The challenge is how to pay for them and how to provide the services necessary to ensure successful implementation.
Recently, Stark regulations have been changed to enable hospitals to fund up to 85% of the implementation costs of electronic health records for non-owned clinicians. This means that hundreds of clinicians in the community are now looking to BIDMC as an information technology provider. Although we oversee 200 trillion bytes of data, 16000 network connections, 8000 personal computers, and 150 applications, it’s challenging to scale our team to support hundreds of new physician practices in the community.
How will we do it?
We’ve partnered with a dream team of collaborators to build a robust, cost effective, web-accessible electronic health record hosting facility that goes live in early 2008. Our partners include
eClinicalWorks – a leading provider of practice management and CCHIT certified electronic health records, accessible over the Internet using a smart web client, from anywhere in the world
Concordant – a leading provider of desktop, network, and server hosting services for clinician offices throughout our region.
MassPro – a regional peer review organization which provides best practice templates for physicians implementing electronic health records and which created DOQ-IT University, a training program for professionals implementing physician automation. It’s also a leader in quality measurement
Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative – our regional implementer of electronic health records with expertise in practice transformation.
Third Brigade – an expert internet security firm, which will audit all our systems to ensure we are protecting patient confidentiality.
Working together with these collaborators, BIDMC will offer a suite of services that enable us to expand the scale of our current IS operations into the community. My team and I will continue to provide the medical informatics expertise, decision support knowledge, and interoperability standards, but our team of partners will help us execute the vision in a way that enables us to balance time, scope and resources.
In addition to his CIO role at BIDMC, Dr. Halamka is dean for technology at Harvard Medical School. He blogs at GeekDoctor.blogspot.com.