U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins, D-South Buffalo, spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives recently to highlight the need for increased adoption of electronic medical records.
Higgins cited the benefits of the use of electronic medical records during natural disasters, like Hurricane Sandy, and also generally to improve quality of patient care and reduce health care costs.
According to a 2009 survey of 11 countries, 46 percent of U.S. doctors used electronic medical records compared to more than 90 percent in Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the UK. Higgins supported the HI-TECH Act which created the Beacon Grant program, through which Western New York received $16.1 million, allowing HEALTHeLINK to become a national outlier in the integration of Electronic Medical Records. Higgins also cited several examples of how Health IT is improving health care and economic growth in Western New York: WCA Hospital is among the health care facilities that are part of the HEALTHeLINK system.
Western New York is one of 11 communities in the United States selected by U.S. Veterans Administration to participate in the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record Health Communities Program, which connects physicians from the VA, private practices and hospitals for better access to critical health information for their Veteran patients through HEALTHeLINK.
The new $300 million Global Vascular Institute at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus highly integrates Health IT into all practice settings.
Buffalo-based Computer Task Group pursued 12 national contracts for EMR work and won all of them, including work for a comprehensive statewide system in Texas.
Dell Computer announced a $15 million partnership with UB to improve the supercomputer facility at the Medical Campus and enhance the research capabilities of academics and entrepreneurs there in Health IT; creating more than 100 jobs.
UBMD received a $20 million grant from the State to establish a Health IT network for its physicians working with patients with chronic diseases
$2 million in federal funding to the P2 Collaborative to provide outreach and support services to at least 5,100 primary care providers expanding Health IT within two years.
Reports estimate Electronic Medical Record implementation and networking could eventually save the US more than $81 billion annually.