$3M in grants to help docs adapt to EHRs

October 22, 2013 in Medical Technology

Recognizing that electronic health records pose challenges to practicing physicians even as they’re now essential to care, The Physicians Foundation has awarded a series of grants that will help some 10,000 physicians with the selection and implementation of EHRs.

“Health information technology is a critical component of health reform and will continue to transform the operation of physician practices and the delivery of healthcare as the Affordable Care Act comes into full effect,” said Alan Plummer, MD, vice president of The Physicians Foundation and chairman of its grants committee, in a press statement announcing the grants.

“Given the legislative and market need to adopt these systems, it is imperative physicians and healthcare providers understand all aspects of EHR adoption as well as feel confident they possess the leadership skills to navigate the current healthcare environment,” he said.

The Physicians Foundation is a nonprofit organization aiming to help practicing physicians offer better care. It pursues its mission through a variety of activities such as grants, research, white papers and policy studies. Since 2005, the foundation has awarded numerous multi-year grants totaling more than $28 million.

In this latest round, more than 30 grants were awarded to medical society foundations and healthcare organizations nationwide that aimed to create ongoing physicians resources and training programs on these critical topics, officials say.

The Physicians Foundation has awarded more than $3 million to support these grants. Examples include:

  • Colorado Medical Society Foundation. This program conducted more than 10 physician workshops across the state on meaningful use as well as a statewide summit on EHR selection. In collaboration with the Colorado Regional Health Information Organization and Colorado Regional Extension Center, the grant developed and deployed an online physician portal consisting of learning modules and a robust set of resources.
  • Maine Primary Care Association. This project built upon MPCA’s data warehouse to provide EHR hosting for small practices, interface its data warehouse with the state immunization registry and connect small practices to the statewide health information exchanges. By grant completion, the project was able to successfully connect 11 community health centers, which account for more than 85 percent of Maine’s health center patients, to the state’s HIE. 
  • Florida Medical Foundation. The project developed a customized 10-month emerging leader program designed to train younger physicians. Developed in partnership with the Leadership Development Institute at the University of Florida, the FMA Physician Leadership Academy focuses on strategic thinking, team building, financial management and communication skills.

“The U.S. healthcare system has moved into an era of digitization,” said Lou Goodman, president of The Physicians Foundation and CEO of the Texas Medical Association, in a press statement. “As current and upcoming federal requirements on EHR usage continue to significantly impact the way physicians practice medicine – and patients begin placing greater emphasis on access to their own medical records – the Foundation remains steadfast in its goal to help physicians address the challenges and benefits of health IT and effectively manage healthcare reform.”
More health IT toolkits and physician resources from The Physicians Foundation are available here.

[See also: Docs 'stressed and unhappy' about EHRs]


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