U.S. Wants To Make It Easier For Doctors To Adopt Health IT

Changes in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regulations
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday proposed a change in its regulations that could ultimately make it easier for more doctors to adopt electronic prescription and digital health record technologies.

The new regulations would allow doctors to accept donations of health IT products, like E-prescribing and electronic health records software, hardware and training, from hospitals and other such entities. Current federal "anti-kickback" statutes prohibit doctors from accepting these kinds of donations from hospitals today.

The remove of the legal obstacle would make it easier—and less prohibitive financially—for doctors to adopt in their practices the same kinds of technologies that are increasingly being adopted in hospital settings.

"Computer-assisted prescriptions have been shown to cut errors by 70% over hand-written prescriptions," said health secretary Michael Leavitt at a press conference at George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. to unveil the proposal. "We want to make medical clipboards and prescription pads a thing of the past."

The proposal is part of a broader effort by the U.S. government to help meet President Bush's goal for most Americans to have electronic health records by 2014.

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