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ACP Hails Release of Brailer Plan for Promoting Use of Health Information Technology

New Plan conforms Closely with Previous ACP Proposals

(Washington, DC): The American College of Physicians (ACP) hailed the release of a report July 21, prepared by the new National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, David J. Brailer, M.D., Ph.D., that lays out the broad steps needed to achieve always-current, always-available electronic health records (EHR) for Americans. The report, The Decade of Health Information Technology: Delivering Consumer-centric and Information-Rich Health Care, says federal leadership can help hasten efforts to be carried out by the private sector.

"Dr. Brailer's plan relies on strategies that the College has previously identified as crucial for success, such as providing incentives for the adoption of health information technology (HIT) and promulgating interoperable standards," said ACP CEO and EVP John Tooker, MD, MBA, FACP. Dr. Tooker served on the Private Industry, Clinical Leadership Reactor Panel on Wednesday, as part of the National Health Information Infrastructure (NHII) conference where the new plan was released.

ACP released legislative language July 19 intended to facilitate the adoption of HIT in small physician practices.

"We urge Congress to get behind the ACP legislative proposal as an effective and cost-effective way to begin improving the quality of patient care through effective use of HIT," said Dr. Tooker.

Health care in America could greatly benefit from increased use of HIT through improved patient care, reduction in medical errors, higher efficiency, and potential long run cost savings.

Approximately half of the practicing physicians in the United States work in practices with six or fewer physicians. The average cost for an EHR system is $30,000 per physician. This initial cost, combined with the expense for transferring patient records and maintaining the system, often puts these systems out of the reach of small physician practices.

ACP seeks to improve patient care through the nationwide adoption of HIT for use by physician, other health care providers and patients.

Paper records will be eliminated and replaced with EHR. All such records will be available through an interoperable National Health Information Infrastructure (NHII). These EHRs will provide clinically relevant patient information and clinical decision support tools as patients move from one health care setting to another.

"The ACP legislative proposal seeks to increase the adoption of effective HIT by all physician practices, but with special attention to helping smaller practices through various financial incentives and pilot testing of the standards in small practice settings," said ACP President Charles Francis, MD, FACP.

The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include more than 116,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection and treatment of illness in adults.

Jack Pope (202) 261-4556, jpope@acponline.org
Jacquelyn Blaser, (202) 261-4572, jblaser@acponline.org

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