SOURCE: Lumetra

June 02, 2006 12:00 ET

California Doctors Adopt Electronic Health Records Systems at Nearly Twice the National Rate

Lumetra Salutes DOQ-IT Pilot Practices During National Health IT Week (June 5-8)

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- June 2, 2006 -- In honor of National Health IT Week (June 5-8), Lumetra today announced California participants in Medicare's groundbreaking two-year Doctor's Office Quality-Information Technology (DOQ-IT) Pilot Program achieved nearly twice the national rate of electronic health record (EHR) systems adoption.

As Medicare's Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) for California, and under contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Lumetra enrolled 123 practices and more than 700 primary care physicians through Medicare's DOQ-IT Pilot Program between 2003 and 2005. California participants in the Pilot showed an EHR adoption rate of 30 percent, compared to the national average of 17.6 percent.(1)

"We are thrilled that California physicians have taken the initiative to adopt technology and transition to electronic systems because they are improving the quality of U.S. healthcare, one practice at a time," said Jo Ellen H. Ross, president and CEO, Lumetra. "By helping small and medium-size physician practices, Lumetra is helping California move one step closer to EHRs for all Americans which will mean better, safer healthcare."

It is widely known that EHR adoption in primary care practices is minimal and slow moving, even though it has the potential to improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of healthcare.

Lumetra's role during the DOQ-IT Pilot included strategic consultation with small- and medium-sized primary care physician practices throughout California to assess their office workflows and needs, select an appropriate health information technology (HIT) vendor, and help them get the most out of a paperless system.

As a result of its work with California physician offices, Lumetra developed the Practice Readiness Assessment tool to help practitioners adopt and integrate HIT systems in their practices. Based on the assessments of practices enrolled in the DOQ-IT Pilot Program, 72 percent are nearly ready to adopt HIT, while 17 percent require additional preparation. In addition:

--  Fifty percent of DOQ-IT participants used an Internet connection to
    submit medical claims, while only 11 percent used the Internet for e-
    prescribing.
--  Ninety-six percent of administrative staff and 92 percent of
    physicians have direct access to a computer.
--  Sixty-seven percent of participants use electronic billing.
--  Only 11 percent share data electronically in any form.
    
Dr. Lowell Kleinman, a physician in Northern California is a strong supporter of the DOQ-IT Program. "There are so many EHR options out there, it's easy to get confused," he said. "DOQ-IT helped me understand exactly what I needed to look for. Without DOQ-IT, I would have missed out on what is going to be a literal transformation in the way I practice medicine."

Under its current contract as the QIO for California, Lumetra continues its work with eligible primary care physician practices and offering expert assistance -- at no cost -- to select, implement, and fully utilize EHR systems. Physicians interested in applying for DOQ-IT are encouraged to complete the online application at www.lumetra.com/go/ehrhelp during National Health IT Week.

National Health IT Week was developed by a broad group of public and private industry organizations to bring together stakeholders, share lessons learned, and promote a common agenda for achieving the goals of HIT, including EHRs for all Americans by 2014.

Note to Editors:

Lumetra is an independent consulting organization dedicated to improving the quality, safety, efficiency, and integrity of healthcare. Lumetra provides an array of professional services that include medical review, HIT, quality evaluation and improvement, marketing and communications, and data analysis to private and public entities. As California's Medicare Quality Improvement Organization, nonprofit Lumetra works with healthcare providers across the state to ensure that every person receives the right care, every time. For more information, please visit www.lumetra.com.

(1) National average based on data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, 2001-2003

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