Theincentives from the HITECH Act initiatives do help defray the costs ofinstalling computers and systems. However, “The focus should be on value, not cost,” according toDeborah Kohn, Principal, Dak Systems Consulting, San Mateo, CA. “Thecost issue is a moving target, but the installation of EHR systems yields lotsof value to the oncology practitioner and the oncology practice.”

Thevision of the future is one of “mobile health,” and mobile health is alreadyhere in the form of mobile devices and smartphones that oncology physicianstake along with them from hospital to office to clinic, and back again. Afull integration of the mobile electronic device with the office-basedcomputers is yet to come, but Kohn predicts that full integration is likely tobe offered within the next several years by vendors of EHR and financial-recordsystems. In summary, physicians, especially oncologists, are among themost mobile of professionals, and are likely to adopt integrated mobiletechnologies once they are offered by vendors of the computerized systems. Withincentives and initiatives offered by the ARRA and HITECH, the United Statesmight be able to “catch up” with countries such as Denmark, New Zealand, andSweden, which have very high rates of EHR adoption.14 

Continue Reading

1. Centersfor Medicare and Medicaid Services. An introduction to the medicareEHR incentive program for eligible professionals, 2011. Accessed April 29, 2012.

2. WorzalaC. Policy update: federalincentives for the adoption of electronic health records. J Oncol Pract. 2009;5(5):262–263.doi:10.1200/JOP.091034.

3. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.Department of Health and Human Services. Medicare and medicaid programs;electronic health record incentive program. Federal Register. 2012;77(45):13698–13829. April 29, 2012

4. Shulman L, Miller RS, Ambinder EP, et al.Principles of safe practice using an oncology EHR system for chemotherapyordering, preparation, and administration, part 1 of 2. J Oncol Pract.2008;4:203–206. doi:10.1200/JOP.0847501.

5. Shulman L, Miller RS, Ambinder EP, et al.Principles of safe practice using an oncology EHR system for chemotherapyordering, preparation, and administration, part 2 of 2. J Oncol Pract.2008;4(5):254–257. doi:10.1200/JOP.0857501

6. Blumenthal D. Stimulating the adoption of health informationtechnology. N Engl J Med.2009;360(15):1477–1479. Yu PP. Why meaningful use matters. JOncol Pract. 2011;7(4):206–209.

8. Pizziferri L, Kittler AF, Volk LA, et al.Impact of an electronic health record on oncologists’ clinic time. AMIA2005 Symposium Proceedings Page – 1083.

9. BrocksteinB, Hensing T, Carro GW, et al. Effectof an electronic health record on the culture of an outpatient medicaloncology practice in a four-hospital integrated health care system: 5-yearexperience. J Oncol Pract.2011;7(4):e20–e24.

10. Denvir D.Implementing the HITECH rules in oncology practices. Value‑Based Cancer CareWeb site. May 1, 2012.

11. Chesanow N. The right EHR for an oncology practice.Medscape Today News Web site. http:/// 04/15/2011. Accessed April 9, 2012.

12. Presant CA, Bosserman L,McNatt W, Emilio B. Implementing EHRs in community oncologypractices. Cancer Network. Oncology(Willliston Park). 2011;25(1):19–20.

13. Rasband M. OncologyIS 2011: integrating the island. Oncology Study 2011: August 2011:1–15. 

14. Gray BH, Bowden T, Johansen I,Koch S. Issues in international health policy: electronic health records: aninternational perspective on “meaningful use”. Issue Brief Commonwealth Fund.2011;28:1–18.