Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Congressman Calls for More EMRs

Congressman Brian Higgins representing the 27th Congressional District in Western New York spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives in December to highlight the need to increase the use of EMRs. Higgins cited the benefits for using EMRs during natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy that will not only improve the quality of patient care but also save the U.S more than $81 billion annually.

As the Congressman remarked, “While many hospitals and medical centers were devastated by the storm, hospitals that used EMRs were able to ensure that vital health information was maintained and not lost. Also EMRs enabled care to be continued while patients were transferred between hospitals.”

The HITECH Act which created the Beacon Grant program made it possible for Western New York to receive $16.1 million enabling the HEALTHeLINK system to integrate EMRs. Several examples of how health IT is improving healthcare and economic growth in Western N.Y include:

  • Western New York one of eleven communities selected by the VA to participate in the VLER Health Communities Program, is now connecting physicians from the VA to private practices and hospitals through HEALHeLINK system
  • The new $300 million Global Vascular Institute at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus to  be able to integrate health IT into all practice settings
  • Buffalo-based Computer Task Group has be awarded twelve national contracts for EMR work including work for a comprehensive statewide system in Texas
  • Dell Computer announced that a $15 million partnership with the University of Buffalo  will improve the supercomputer facility at the Medical Campus and improve the research capabilities for university researchers and entrepreneurs with the goal to create over 100 jobs
  • UBMD, a practice plan with 450 physicians who are also professors at the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Science, received a $20 million grant from the state to establish a Health IT network for physicians to work with patients with chronic diseases
  • Two million in federal funding was awarded to the P2 Collaborative to provide outreach and support services to at least 5,100 primary care providers to expand health IT within two years