October 22, 2013

Nearly 10,000 Physicians and their Practices are Transforming HIT Systems and Physician Leadership

Regulatory Changes Require Physicians to Adopt New Technology, Build Leadership Skills to Remain Viable in Current Healthcare Environment

Boston, MA, October 22, 2013 The Physicians Foundation, a nonprofit organization that seeks to advance the work of practicing physicians and help facilitate the delivery of healthcare to patients, announced today the completion of several Health Information Technology (HIT) and physician leadership grants that directly assisted nearly 10,000 physicians and their practices in the selection and implementation of electronic health records (EHR) and development of leadership skills. More than 30 grants were awarded to medical society foundations and healthcare organizations across the country that aimed to create ongoing physicians resources and training programs on these critical topics.

"Health information technology is a critical component of health reform and will continue to transform the operation of physician practices and the delivery of healthcare as the Affordable Care Act comes into full effect," said Alan Plummer, MD, Physicians Foundation Vice President and chairman of the Grants committee.  "Given the legislative and market need to adopt these systems, it is imperative physicians and healthcare providers understand all aspects of EHR adoption as well as feel confident they possess the leadership skills to navigate the current healthcare environment." 

The Physicians Foundation has awarded more than $3 million to support these grants. Examples include:

  •  Colorado Medical Society Foundation - The program conducted more than 10 physician workshops across the state on meaningful use as well as a statewide summit on EHR selection. In collaboration with the Colorado Regional Health Information Organization (CORHIO) and Colorado Regional Extension Center (CO-REC), the grant also developed and deployed an online physician portal consisting of learning modules and robust set of resources.
  •  Maine Primary Care Association - The project built upon MPCA's data warehouse to provide EHR hosting for small practices, interface its data warehouse with the state immunization registry and connect small practices to the statewide Health Information Exchanges. By grant completion, the project was able to successfully connect 11 community health centers, which account for more than 85 percent of Maine's health center patients, to the state's HIE. 
  •  Florida Medical Foundation - The project developed a customized 10 month emerging leader program designed to train younger physicians. Developed in partnership with the Leadership Development Institute at the University of Florida, the FMA Physician Leadership Academy focuses on strategic thinking, team building, financial management and communication skills. 

"The U.S. healthcare system has moved into an era of digitization,” said Lou Goodman, Ph.D., President of The Physicians Foundation and CEO of the Texas Medical Association. “As current and upcoming federal requirements on EHR usage continue to significantly impact the way physicians practice medicine –and patients begin placing greater emphasis on access to their own medical records – the Foundation remains steadfast in its goal to help physicians address the challenges and benefits of health IT and effectively manage healthcare reform."

The completed HIT toolkits and physician leadership resources are accessible online at http://www.physiciansfoundation.org/healthcare-grants/grant-resources/.