Emdeon Donates EHR Software To Minority Physicians

Emdeon will help physicians with the cost of digitizing their medical records to boost EHR use in poor communities.

Nicole Lewis, Contributor

December 20, 2011

3 Min Read

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Emdeon and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of Minority Health have launched a program through which Emdeon will donate electronic health record (EHR) software and services to physicians in small practices that provide services to underserved communities in New Jersey.

Emdeon will offer the first 100 physicians who apply and qualify for the program a one-year waiver of the licensing fee when they adopt Emdeon Clinician, a Web-based EHR that's certified by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to meet Stage 1 Meaningful Use criteria. After the one-year period, providers can continue using the product for a fee of $99 per month.

Emdeon Clinician is a component of Emdeon Office Suite, which is a set of software tools that helps payers, providers, labs, and pharmacies with clinical, financial, and administrative healthcare transactions.

The program will be supported by the New Jersey Health Information Technology Extension Center (NJ-HITEC), a federally designated Regional Extension Center (REC), and the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society's (HIMSS') Latino Community.

[For more background on e-prescribing tools, see 6 E-Prescribing Vendors To Watch.]

"These partners are working to help providers adopt electronic health records who practice within medically underserved areas in New Jersey and/or healthcare provider shortage areas," Miriam Paramore, Emdeon's senior vice president for clinical services, told InformationWeek Healthcare.

The program will help New Jersey physicians operating in those communities to close the digital divide by easing the cost of transferring their patient paper charts to digitized medical records so that they can begin participating in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs and start receiving incentive payments once they've demonstrated that they have met Meaningful Use criteria.

Nadine Gracia, deputy assistant secretary for Minority Health, said said in a statement that her agency hopes the initiative will inspire similar efforts to spread the use of EHRs in smaller practices within underserved communities that face numerous challenges in acquiring and implementing the technology.

For those wishing to participate, Emdeon officials said applicants must practice in a Medically Underserved Area (MUA) or Health Provider Shortage Area (HPSA) designated by HHS, have an Internet connection and use an electronic billing system, and be a small practice group of one to five providers or a Federally Qualified Health Center within the MUA and/or HPSA.

Additionally, practices should be eligible to receive Meaningful Use incentives, as defined by the HITECH Act, complete an initial application, and be willing to submit monthly reports to the Office of Minority Health on the progress being made in the EHR adoption process.

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