KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health Information Technology Gains Momentum, Uses

Media outlets report on various issues related to health information technology.

Boston Globe: Medical Care Shifting To Electronic Data Files
One in 10 doctors who work outside hospitals in the United States began using electronic health records in 2011, helped along by the promise of $27 billion in incentives from the federal government. As of the end of last year, 35 percent of such doctors had a system that performed at least basic functions, including ordering of prescriptions and storing doctor notes and test results, according to one in a series of studies on the topic published in the latest issue of the journal Health Affairs (Conaboy, 4/30).

The New York Times: Chicken Scratches Vs. Electronic Prescriptions
E-prescribing comes as part of the switch to electronic health records, which can cost a medical practice tens of thousands of dollars. The stimulus package passed in 2009 included provisions that theoretically ease the financial burden for doctors, but the payments are tied to Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements that are spread out over five years. So the upfront costs remain substantial (Stross, 4/28).

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Elder Care Enters The Digital Age 
The growing business of taking care of aging seniors at home is getting help from a powerful, but unlikely suspect: the mobile phone industry.  With rising health care costs, the soaring baby boomer population and an increased emphasis on keeping people out of hospitals for conditions that can be monitored and treated at home, Atlanta-based AT&T Mobility and other major wireless phone companies have found a sweet spot for new growth. ... Concerns about privacy, how doctors get paid and whether traditional geriatric facilities — such as nursing homes — will go away as more people choose to remain in their homes (Swartz, 4/29).

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