(Sioux Falls, SD) – Sanford Clinic primary care providers expect to be among the first in the area to apply for participation in the first phase of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Electronic Health Records (EHR) Demonstration project. Today, physician practices can begin requesting application packets for the project that was announced in June by U.S. Secretary of HHS Mike Leavitt. South Dakota is one of just four sites in the nation chosen for the immediate phase of the demonstration project.
Sanford Health is a leader in South Dakota in implementing physician EHRs. Currently, 22 primary care clinics in the Sioux Falls area operate in a paperless environment by using an EHR. This represents more than 120 Sanford Clinic providers.
“Sanford Health has already taken an active role in this region by implementing our current EHR system known as docZ,” said Arlyn Broekhuis, Sanford Health Chief Information Officer. “DocZ stores patient information from physician clinics and hospitals in one integrated EHR. This integration is a tremendous benefit to patients because information from clinic and hospital visits is easily visible electronically. As more physicians in this region add EHRs, we gladly offer our experience to providers throughout the area as they begin this journey.”
The goal of the five-year EHR Demonstration project is to encourage primary care physician practices to use EHRs to improve the quality of patient care. Participating practices will receive financial incentives for using certified EHRs. South Dakota's eHealth Collaboration is working to recruit primary care physicians in small or medium-sized clinics, particularly in rural areas, with 20 or fewer physicians which provide primary care services.
Sanford Health is a member of the eHealth Collaborative which submitted the application for participation in the EHR Demonstration project. Other members of the eHealth Collaborative include health systems, insurers, health care industry organizations and state government. Demonstration projects will begin June 1, 2009.
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