Lakewood, CO (PRWEB) March 6, 2009
President Obama has given doctors a $19 billion incentive to convert their paper records to digital files. Medical record scanning was marked as a high priority initiative in the $800 billion stimulus package that passed last month.
"The president is clearly sending a message to medical practices and hospitals that it is time to convert their paper files to Electronic Medical Records (EMR)," says Steve Hastert, president of Record Nations. Record Nations helps medical offices scan their records. "It is a priority for President Obama because it will help healthcare providers and insurance companies easily share information about patients."
The benefit of EMRs is reduced overhead in the healthcare system and a reduction in misdiagnoses. With $600 billion in medical spending the federal government would be the biggest beneficiary of increased efficiencies.
While many leading hospitals have already scanned documents into a digital format, thousands of smaller doctors' offices have not made the switch. Most cite the fact that scanning medical files is a significant expense and the cost is difficult to pass on to patients.
"The government will be providing grants to individual practices to help offset the cost," says Hastert. "As news of these grants spreads, we are seeing a dramatic increase in the requests for scanning service."
The incentives in the plan include $2 billion in grants to individual physicians in the amount of $44,000 to $64,000. This can be used for document scanning and electronic document management systems. Hospitals can qualify for up to $11 million in incentives. The remaining $17 billion is for Medicaid and Medicare payment increases to offices using the system.
The law also establishes penalties for practices that choose not to employ e-health records. In 2014 there will be decreased Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements for practices that have not implemented EMRs.
"Over the next few years you are going to see more and more doctors typing on the computer instead of writing on a chart," predicted Hastert.