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Time Is Now for Electronic Health Records

Carmela Castellano-Garcia had a good idea of what she was going to see in the California Primary Care Association’s annual survey of clinics.

But she was a bit surprised at the degree of participation among California clinics that responded to the survey, in terms of implementing electronic health records.

“About 21% of them have already implemented EHRs,” CPCA president Castellano-Garcia said. “And of the rest, about 70% said they expect to do it in 2011.”

The survey was conducted earlier this year and the results recently compiled and released, with 127 clinic corporations responding to it, Castellano-Garcia said. The survey included responses from 80 Federally Qualified Health Centers, she said. That’s about four-fifths of the FQHCs in California.

“That shows that the lion’s share of clinics are on the fast track for early adoption,” Castellano-Garcia said. “It shows how clinics are at the forefront, so that’s a significant finding.”

The primary care association is a founding member of CalHIPSO (California Health Information Partnership and Services Organization), an organization designed to provide technical assistance to physicians, so electronic health records can be established at a time when the federal government is offering financial incentives to upgrade health information systems.

“The money available is a big incentive right now,” Castellano-Garcia said. “A lot of the clinics have been down the road to adoption for a number of years, so it makes sense to me that incentives are propelling this to another whole level.”