There is a growing recognition of the importance of using computers for patient care. However, many psychiatrists, especially those in solo or small-group practice settings, continue to use computers in a very limited way. Electronic health records (EHRs) have been credited for their potential to improve documentation and communication to impact quality, but have also raised numerous concerns regarding their cost, complexity, and privacy limitations.
Physicians who treat Medicaid or Medicare patients and demonstrate “meaningful use” of electronic health records are eligible for significant financial incentives. Physicians who do not meet this requirement by the end of 2014 will face reduced Medicare reimbursement rates in 2015. While psychiatrists are increasingly expressing interest in EHRs, for physicians in solo and small practices, the tasks of selecting, implementing, and effectively using EHRs are daunting.
To help psychiatrists wade through these complex issues, APA’s Committee on Electronic Health Records is sponsoring the symposium “Getting Started With an EHR in Your Practice.” It will be held on Tuesday, May 21, at 9 a.m. in Room 125 of the Moscone Convention Center. The session will be chaired by Lori Simon, M.D., a committee member and practicing psychiatrist who has implemented an EHR in her solo practice, and will include presenters who represent practice settings in both the public and private sectors.
The symposium will provide psychiatrists with in-depth information on how to go about selecting and implementing an EHR for their practice, as well as a case study to help them better understand the material being presented in a real-life setting. Issues to be discussed include security, privacy, data sharing, interoperability, and usability, along with an analysis of the potential costs and benefits for a practice. The workshop will conclude with ample time for attendees to pose questions to members of the committee. ■