(Washington) "The American College of Physicians (ACP) is greatly encouraged by the introduction of the 'National Health Information Incentive Act of 2007'," ACP President Lynne M. Kirk, MD, FACP said today. "Increased use of health information technology (HIT) could greatly benefit health care in the U.S. through improved patient care, reduction in medical errors, higher efficiency, and potential long run cost savings."
The bill, introduced by Representatives Charles Gonzalez (D-TX) and Phil Gingrey (R-GA), is designed to facilitate the development and adoption of national standards, and to provide initial financial support and ongoing reimbursement incentives for physicians in smaller practices to adopt HIT to support quality improvement activities. The legislation is based in large part on ideas originally developed by ACP. "The proposed financial incentives would make it possible for physicians in small practices to invest in the technology and encourage its continued use to improve patient care," continued Dr. Kirk. "Before America's patients can truly reap the benefits of health information technology it must be available and working where most people receive care." In surveys of ACP members involved in direct patient care after training, approximately 20 percent report they are in solo practice, and 50 percent are in practices of five or fewer physicians. According to "The Value of Electronic Health Records in Solo or Small Group Practices," an article in the September/October 2005 issue of Health Affairs magazine, the acquisition cost for an electronic health records (EHR) system averaged $44,000 per physician. This initial cost, combined with the ongoing average annual cost of $8,500 per physician to maintain the system, often puts these systems out of the reach of small physician practices.
HIT systems include interoperable applications such as electronic health records, electronic prescribing systems, evidence based-clinical d
Contact: David Kinsman
American College of Physicians