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Government and Policy

Alberta approves six vendors for physician IT program

EDMONTON – Alberta’s Physician Office Systems Program (POSP) announced that six vendors have passed the organization’s first round of 2004 tests for electronic patient records and practice management software.

The POSP has been testing physician-office software in a process called Vendor Conformance and Usability Requirements (VCUR). The organization says that additional software packages are still in the test-phase, and may join the approved list later this year.

Alberta’s physicians must select software from one of the VCUR-approved vendors in order to qualify for Level 2 funding of up to $7,700 per year, for four years, to computerize their practices.

The VCUR process includes two categories, local installations and ASP offerings. On the local installation approved list are:

• Clinicare
• Jonoke
• Med-Access
• National Medical
• Rise Healthware
• Telin

Two of these vendors, Clinicare and Telin, are also approved for the ASP category.

The POSP notes that four other vendors and their offerings are still in the testing phase. They are: Microquest, Wolf Medical, OptimeDirect and Nightingale Informatix.

Full information is available at www.albertadoctors.org, in the POSP section.

Alberta has embarked on an ambitious program that provides financial incentives for doctors to computerize their practices. It is a joint effort that involves the Alberta Medical Association, Alberta Health and Wellness (the provincial health ministry) and the regional health authorities.

The sponsors have provided $65 million over three years of the program. So far, over 1,900 Alberta physicians have enrolled. Physicians who apply for Levels 1 or 1.5 of the program are not required to install systems from the approved VCUR list, but they qualify for lower funding – $1,050 and $2,800 respectively – each year for the four year period.

Physicians are able to jump to a higher level, but they must re-apply for admission. In the latest round of physician applications, the majority of physicians were approved for Level 2 funding – 68 Level 1 physicians were approved, along with 35 in Level 1.5 and 304 in Level 2.

Level 2 funding requires that physicians meet certain goals or outcomes. Within six months of enrolment, they must:

• Record 50 percent of patient appointments and encounters in the scheduler;

• Maintain problem list within the electronic medical record for 50 percent of patients seen;

• Maintain complete encounter notes in the electronic medical record for 50 percent of patients seen at electronic medical record-enabled sites;

• Show use of the Internet to access medical knowledge tools;

• Confirm/update patient demographic information and Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan status in the provincial electronic health record integrated with the electronic medical record (as per VCUR 4.1.1);

• Enter prescriptions in the provincial electronic health record integrated with the electronic medical record for 50 percent of patients seen;

• Review/process lab results received in the electronic medical record through system-to-system integration with regional systems for 50 percent of patients seen;

Moreover, within 12 months of program enrolment they must:

• Leverage appropriate medical information within the electronic medical record to provide better data in referral/consultation letters;

• Use reminder lists to support individual patient follow-up and management;

• Use system-generated reports for population health management;

• Record 100 percent of patient appointments and encounters in the scheduler;

• Maintain problem list within the electronic medical record for 100 percent of patients seen;

• Maintain complete encounter notes in the electronic medical record for 100 percent of patients seen at electronic medical record-enabled sites;

• Show use of the internet to access medical knowledge tools.

• Confirm/update patient demographic information and Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan status in the provincial electronic health record integrated with the electronic medical record;

• Enter prescriptions in the provincial electronic health record integrated with the electronic medical record for 100 percent of patients seen;

• Review/process lab results received in the electronic medical record through system-to-system integration with regional systems for 100 percent of patients seen.

 

 

 

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