As of last year, fewer than 5 percent of the state’s physicians had electronic records of their patients, according to the state Health Information Technology Commission.
Creating an electronic records system that spans the services spectrum is a major goal of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (ACA), but given those statistics New Jersey has a long way to go. Most experts agree that electronic records result in more efficiencies and better care. The low rate of physician adoption, according to the commission, is due to the fact that most physicians don’t want to spend the money to adopt these expensive system because they haven’t been convinced of the value.
Gov. Christie has just proclaimed the current week as NJ Health Information Technology Week, in alignment with recognition of the issue nationally. The state’s hospitals and the Department of Health and Senior Services have been working on a plan to connect hospitals, insurance companies, emergency rooms and out-of-state facilities via a health information network. In his proclamation, Christie noted that 45 New Jersey hospitals are looking to upgrade their electronic health record systems. The commission, which was established in 2008 but is now focusing on implementing the program as outlined by federal health reform, has developed an in-depth operational plan that will take at least until 2015 to complete.