The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, through the CMS Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Programs encourages Hospitals, Health Care Centers, Primary Care Doctors, and other “eligible professionals” to “meaningfully use” Health Information Technology to electronically document, manage, and securely share health information between patients , clinical care teams, public health organizations, and various other healthcare related service providers.

The goals of the CMS Electronic Health Care Record (EHR) Incentive Program are to:

  • Improve patient safety and clinical outcomes;
  • Reduce cost and increase efficiencies thru ought the health care system, and;
  • Create expanded opportunities for patients to participate actively in their care.

All Federally Qualified Health Centers in New Jersey are participating in the NJ Medicaid “Meaningful Use” EHR Incentive Program. NJ FQHC’s have used this program to convert from their older static paper based record keeping system, to new interactive MU certified Electronic Health Records systems.

The benefits of an EHR system include:

  • Complete and Accurate Information – With an EHR system, FQHC providers have the information they
    need
    to provide the best possible care. Clinicians will know more about their patients’ health history before
    they walk into the examination room.
  • Better Access to Information – An EHR facilitates greater access to the information that FQHC
    providers
    need to diagnose health problems earlier and improve the health outcomes of their patients. An EHR system
    also allows information to be shared more easily among doctors’ offices, hospitals, and across health
    systems, leading to better coordination of care.
  • Patient Empowerment – EHR help FQHCs empower patients to take a pro-active role in their health
    and in the health of their families. Patients can receive electronic copies of their medical records and
    share their health information securely over the Internet with their families.
  • EHRs can also flag potentially dangerous drug interactions (to help prescribing
    doctors explore alternatives before a problem occurs), verify medications and dosages (to
    ensure that pharmacists dispense the right drug and dosage), and reduce the need for potentially
    risky tests and procedures
    .

For a detailed overview of the new rules, visit the CMS website here. For other resources, click on the links below.

Resources: