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Will Digital Health Records Ever Happen?
CNBC.com | September 12, 2011 | 10:35 AM EDT

Some electronic health record, EHR, companies are taking a more aggressive approach than others. Epic is requiring doctors to train 16 hours on its EHR product, says Nelson, "which is working."

"There is going to be training on how to use a computer in the first place, there is training in how the data is used, there is a lot of learning in what the data says,” adds John Glaser, PhD, CEO of the Health Services Business Unit, Siemens Healthcare told CNBC. “It all means a lot of learning across the board.”

One possible turning point could come in 2011-2012, when financial aid to encourage adoption kicks in. Physicians and hospitals can apply for funding under a provision of the multi-year stimulus act and must begin participation by 2012 to receive the full benefits.

The Medicaid and Medicare and Medicaid Electronics Health Incentive Programs together provide up to $107,750 in incentive payments over the next few years "to adopt, implement, upgrade or demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology."

According to government data, 77,549 eligible providers have registered under the EHR incentive programs, with aid totaling $397.4 million as of the end of July.

"The incentives are working," says Nelson.

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