by Rick Tytus, MD
Republished with permission from OntarioMD
September 30, 2013 was the deadline for submitting applications to the EMR adoption program. By the end of March 2014 approcimately 11,00 community physicians in Ontario, or 75% of eligible community-based family physicians and 50% of community-based specialists will be participating in the EMR Adoption Program, funded by eHealth Ontario and delivered by OntarioMD.
Physicians are already realizing the benefits of using an EMR, which has helped them to enhance patient care and practice efficiency. As a result of the continued demand for EMRs and the benefits achieved, OntarioMD and eHealth Ontario have negotiated a one-year extension to the EMR Adoption Program. The extension will support additional EMR adoption, leading to completion of the EMR acquisition phase of the program, and focus on optimizing the use of EMRs in physician practices.
New EMR Adoption funding will focus on providing funding and transition support for specialists and the small number of remaining family physicians who have not yet adopted an EMR. Funding is also available to support enhanced EMR use and to maintain the latest version of the EMR Specification for physicians who have reached the end of their three years of monthly subsidies.
New EMR Adoption Funding
The one-year extension, effective April 1, 2014, will focus on providing funding and change management support to specialists to enable them to transition from their paper charts to an EMR. As most community-based family physicians have adopted an EMR, there will be limited funding and change management support to those who have not yet participated.
Full details of the new terms and conditions of the one-year program will be available later this year on www.ontariomd.ca. In the meantime, physicians can contact OntarioMD at firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 1.866.744.8668, to indicate their interest and be placed on a waiting list until the application period begins.
Total funding for an eligible physician remains the same as the current program. To be eligible for the full funding amount, a participating physician must implement his or her EMR within 10 months of signing the Funding Agreement, and submit a Performance Declaration and an EMR Use Survey within 22 months of signing the Funding Agreement. OntarioMD will provide support to participating physicians to meet these key funding milestones.
EMR Enhanced Use Funding And Support
The extension includes EMR Enhanced Use funding, which replaces the current EMR Upgrade funding, and provides a monthly subsidy for physicians to keep their EMR at the latest EMR Specification, and connect and use key functionality, such as receiving electronic hospital reports and querying the Ontario Laboratories Information System directly from their EMR.
If You Have Considered Getting An EMR, Act Now!
If you’re a specialist or family physician practising in the community without an EMR, I urge you to take advantage of this additional funding and support. The number of available funding positions is limited, so it’s best to get on the waiting list now in order to get an application in early to avoid disappointment. There is no obligation to apply. Contact OntarioMD at emrfunding@ontariomd. com, or 1.866.744.8668, to express interest in the new funding program.
EMRs are quickly becoming a standard of practice. Join the majority of your colleagues who are reaping the benefits of an EMR to enhance their patients’ care and practice efficiency. Act now to realize the benefits for yourself.
Dr. Rick Tytus, a family physician practising in Hamilton, serves as Chair of the Board of OntarioMD, and is a member of the OMA Board of Directors.