Will electronic health records become another outpost on the digital divide? New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg is taking steps to make sure that the city's poor don't get left behind. NYC is spending $27 million to provide electronic health record systems to the doctors serving the city's poorest areas, Federal Computer Week reports
Bloomberg’s announcement fulfills a pledge he made in his annual State of the City address in January. “This year, we're going to launch a revolution in our community health clinics,” he said. “We'll ask Albany, Washington, [D.C.], and the private sector to join us in investing $100 million to create secure [EHRs] in our community clinics, and in the offices of doctors who practice in our poorest neighborhoods. This will reduce preventable illnesses. It will save millions of dollars a year now wasted on needless procedures. And it will make us the national leader in providing high-quality health care to those most in need.”
Other electronic health initiatives, according to the City's press release:
- Expanding the use of electronic prescribing (eRx). Over the next three years, the City plans to expand eRx use to more than 2,000 providers who predominantly see Medicaid patients. Electronic prescribing can improve cost-effectiveness, prevent fraud, and greatly reduce medication errors and adverse drug reactions, and is relatively easy to implement in a short time.
- Use of clinical information systems to improve mandated reporting by doctors and medical institutions to DOH and communication between the health department and health care providers.
- Electronic Health Records at the City's correctional facilities. The City has committed more than $10 million to the purchase and implementation of an EHR system that will help ensure the highest quality of care for people incarcerated at New York City's jails, and enable improved communication and continuity of care between correctional health and community clinics.