During a time when state and federal lawmakers are calling for an expansion of health information technology use by physicians and hospitals, the Ohio State Medical Association (OSMA) is offering physicians a chance to get a head start on the process of adopting EMR through the OSMA’s EMR Standards of Excellence Program (EMR SOE).

Ohio’s executive budget has provisions for an increase in HIT funds and the recently passed federal economic stimulus package contains $19 billion in Medicare and Medicaid HIT incentives that include awards for the adoption of electronic medical record systems (EMR).

"We are happy that lawmakers are making the expansion of health information technology a priority, especially in these difficult economic times," said OSMA President Warren F. Muth, MD.  "The OSMA’s EMR SOE Program gives our member practices the tools to succeed in selecting an EMR vendor during the multi-step and sometimes confusing selection and adoption process."

Launching last March, the EMR SOE Program aims to reduce the risk for physicians who wish to adopt an EMR by identifying vendors who have agreed to include physician-friendly terms and conditions in their contracts with medical practices. In addition, at a minimum, the EMR vendors in the program must have Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) certification.

The program is available exclusively to OSMA members.

According to OSMA, the typical EMR vendor selection process can take as long as two years because medical practices may have to research and sort through hundreds of different vendors. By identifying physician-friendly vendors, the EMR SOE Program can assist customers in saving time and money, as well as lower the risk associated with the lengthy process of adopting EMR.

Working with health care consulting firm The Coker Group, OSMA seeks to identify terms and conditions that help protect physicians’ rights in the EMR contracting process. The Coker Group also provides OSMA members with an initial vendor contract and quote validation review at no charge.