Guam – Guam Memorial Hospital has received $1.3 million dollars in federal funding to implementat an electronic health record keeping system at GMH to replace their old paper record keeping system.
The funding stems from a program created by the HITECH Act which was established in 2009 by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The program “focuses on attaining meaningful use of Electronic Health Records [EHRs] as a pathway toward improved health system performance.”
Electronic Health Records are digital versions of patient records, thus making it easier for health care providers to exchange patient information for improved service.
At a news conference this afternoon, GMH CEO Joe Verga said the $1.3 million is the first phase of a three phase program. If GMH is able to demonstrate meaningful use of the EHR funds, then the hospital will be eligible for the next phase of funding. In all, he said, the hospital could get as much as $2.6 million dollars over the 6 year span of program.
“So this really begins the basic infrastructure … to proceed to really implement the EHR”, said Verga. ” Then there are certain data points at which you will be eligible, so for example if the hospital is able to submit certain data sets that it is monintoring, that the system has these capabilities, that’s what we have to do is show evidence of that, in order to be elgible for the money.“
DPHSS Medicaid Administrator Tess Archangel said the aim of the program is to improve health care. “The purpose actually of the EHR is technically for better care, better quality reduced duplication which means reduced costs”, said Archangel.
The grant was approved by CMS and will be channeled to GMHA from the Guam Department of Public Health through the Guam Medicaid Program.
NTT Data will be the software contractor for the hospital’s EHR system.