In a move that could help to speed the adoption of computer-based medical records, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society has agreed to acquire CPRI-HOST, a consortium of vendors and providers that has spearheaded development of electronic patient files.
The merger, which is being formally announced this week, is expected to be completed later this summer.
In an interview last week with Modern Healthcare, HIMSS President and Chief Executive Officer H. Stephen Lieber said electronic medical records have become "one of the primary issues" in healthcare information technology. In the past year, he said, "We recognized we needed to build up our expertise in this area."
Lieber said HIMMS will introduce a "far more comprehensive package of awards and services" focused on electronic medical records.
Currently, fewer than 10% of practicing physicians use electronic medical records. However, interest in computer-based medical records is growing because of the focus on patient safety and implementation of electronic claims processing under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
CPRI-HOST Chair Rick Holtmeier, president of Berdy Medical Systems in Saddle Brook, N.J., said 13,000-member HIMSS would provide more visibility for CPRI-HOST. With an annual budget of about $200,000, "It's really hard to provide the education and thrust and programs that are necessary to push electronic medical records out to that large of a market," Holtmeier said.
For example, CPRI-HOST has attracted about 100 people to an annual symposium held in conjunction with its esteemed Nicholas E. Davies awards, Holtmeier said. Starting next year, HIMSS will fold the event into its annual conference, where attendance exceeds 18,000.
HIMSS will keep the well-known CPRI-HOST name and move its office to HIMSS in Chicago from its site at the American Medical Informatics Association in Bethesda, Md. The Computer-based Patient Record Institute was created in 1992 to promote the implementation of computerized medical records. Healthcare Open Systems and Trials, or HOST, was a spinoff that rejoined CPRI in 1999.
The CPRI-HOST executive committee initially will serve as a steering committee for HIMSS computer-based medical records efforts, and CPRI-HOST will have advisory seats on the HIMSS board. Its director, Pat Wise, will continue as an interim director until a permanent director is named, Lieber said.