Electronic health records overlooked in healthcare debate

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One part of President Obama's healthcare agenda that has been nudged out of the spotlight is the push to create a nationwide network of electronic health records (EHR) by 2014. McKnight's will hold a webcast on this issue later this month.

Even though a deadline is in place, EHR faces significant challenges toward implementation. One of the main factors holding back EHR adoption is the sheer cost of the undertaking, according to CNNMoney.com. Depending on the size of the facility, an EHR system can cost tens of millions of dollars to implement, and take years to get off the ground. One Kentucky hospital system will require $80 million and three years to fully implement an effective EHR system, CNN reported. Convincing physicians to change their long-held practices can be a challenge as well, according to the report. Smaller rural facilities face other challenges, including lack of training and resistance to change.

The long-term care industry has long been considered ahead of the curve in EHR adoption practices. (McKnight's, 11/10/08) On August 20 at 2 p.m. EST, McKnight's will host a free online webcast to further educate long-term care providers on the pros, cons, benefits and impact on the bottom line of electronic health records. For more information, or to register online, visit www.mcknights.com.