The American Academy of Family Physicians will work with five vendors of electronic health records and several other computer firms to increase the volume of those companies' software and hardware sales in return for discounts to physicians. The agreement also calls on the vendors to make their products technologically compatible, permitting exchange of information without costly interfaces and technical support. Healthcare authorities such as the CMS and the Institute of Medicine have emphasized repeatedly the importance of electronic record systems in efforts to lower costs, improve diagnosis and treatment, and quickly respond to public health threats. But according to industry estimates, less than 10% of physician offices are clinically computerized, driving the government to insist last March that information technology vendors take steps to speed adoption. Among other possibilities, the CMS has said it's considering Medicare-related financial incentives. Read the AAFP announcement. -- by John Morrissey
Family physicians' group aligns with IT makers
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