The bill, introduced by Sen. John Kerry, would make small healthcare practices eligible for federal loans.
Senator John Kerry introduced a bill designed to help family doctors fund conversion to electronic health records.
Kerry, D-Mass., a senior member of the Finance Committee, introduced the Small Business Health Information Technology Financing Act of 2009 Tuesday. It would make family doctors and other small medical practices eligible for Small Business Administration loans to cover the cost of health information technology to create electronic health records and prescriptions.
"Electronic medical records and prescriptions are the common sense solution to restricting costs, reducing errors, and reforming a broken system. Doctors don't need convincing -- they've seen the results," Kerry said in a statement. "This legislation helps small practices acquire the technology that will allow them to be more efficient and to focus on patient care."
Loans would cover the cost of hardware, software, and other technology, Kerry's office said.
A similar bill was introduced in the House of Representatives in June by Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper, D-Pa.
Kerry introduced the Medicare Electronic Medication and Safety Protection (E-MEDS) Act of 2007 to require physicians to use e-prescriptions. The provision passed into law last year as part of the Medicare bill.
Currently, one-third of written prescriptions require follow-up clarification, and medication mistakes cause 7,000 deaths and 1.5 million injuries per year, according to Kerry's office, citing a study from the Institute of Medicine.
EHRs are a major component of U.S. health and economic policy; the U.S. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 set aside $20 billion in February to convert American healthcare practices to e-health records.
Blue Cross of Northeast Pennsylvania, the University of Louisville School of Medicine, and a range of large and small healthcare providers are using mobile apps to improve care and help patients manage their health. Find out how. Download the report here (registration required).
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security EnterpriseTo learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
2017 State of IT ReportIn today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.