Interconnectivity is Key to Realizing President Obama's Goal of Computerizing Medical Records within Five Years, EMR Firm Says

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gMed, an electronic medical records company, supports Obama's call to computerize all medical records within five years, and says that interconnectivity is key to making it happen. Joseph Rubinsztain, M.D., CEO of gMed offers six related EMR predictions.

gMed, a Weston, Fla.-based electronic medical records company, supports the new White House administration's call to computerize all medical records within five years, and says that interconnectivity is key to making it happen.

"While President Obama's goal is ambitious, it could be accomplished if the healthcare industry focuses on interconnectivity," said Joseph Rubinsztain, M.D., CEO of gMed. "With the government, consumers, and physicians pushing to connect different health records, we could create longitudinal electronic health records and improve the quality of health care while lowering its cost."

During his American Recovery and Reinvestment speech (January 2009), Obama unveiled a plan to make "immediate investments necessary to ensure within five years, all of America's medical records are computerized." Rubinsztain believes that those investments are crucial in convincing healthcare providers to adopt EMRs.

"Because the economic slowdown is affecting the healthcare industry, too, financial assistance or incentives, are likely to encourage physicians to make the move to EMRs sooner," Rubinsztain said. "We talk with physicians every day and they want to do the right thing to make health care more efficient, but they also need to know how the changes will benefit them and their practices."

Rubinsztain agrees with Obama's statement that computerized medical records "will cut waste, eliminate red tape, and reduce the need to repeat expensive medical tests."

"I also agree with Mr. Obama's remarks that computerization of medical records will save lives by reducing medical errors," Rubinsztain said. "When you eliminate the need for handwritten prescriptions and orders, you can prevent the medical errors."

As the United States, moves toward the new president's goal of computerizing all medical records, Rubinsztain is making the following predictions about what will happen in the EMR industry within the next two years:

1.    Systems will interconnect. Patient records, with the patient's permission, will be sent and received by and Internet repository, like Microsoft Healthvault™ or Google Health™.
2.    50% of patients will interact with physician offices using the Internet. Using a patient portal, they will pre-register, request appointments, request refills, receive results and pay their balance on-line.
3.    60% of prescriptions will be submitted electronically as Surescripts/RxHub becomes a standard that is easier to adopt by everyone.
4.    Only half of the offices with an EHR will be fully paperless.
5.    EHRs will become "Expert Systems." Clinical decision support systems that will help doctors choose the best treatment and achieve the best possible outcome non-intrusively will be incorporated by the best EHR companies.
6.    Physician performance will be benchmarked using EHRs, but attempts to use data collected in pay-for-performance programs will have limited success.

Since gMed started 12 years ago, the company has kept up with the changing concept of EMR by upgrading its technology and educating its clients. "When we first started, EMR was an application that eliminated transcription for office visit notes and certain procedure reports," Rubinsztain said. "In 2003, the EMR was expanded to include paper documents, such as faxes and scans, and messaging. Today, we're pushing for the interconnectivity and clinical decision support systems that will help the EMR realize its full potential saving billions of dollars, creating jobs, and saving lives."

About gMed
gMed was founded in 1997 to create a better alternative to the paper medical chart. gMed's Digital Charting system integrates medical information, cuts costs, increases revenues, improves quality and reduces risks for selected medical specialties, including gastroenterology, cardiology and urology. gMed is a 2008 Inc. 5000 company based in Weston, Fla. More information is available at http://www.gmed.com.

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