Hospital EMR systems vary quite a bit from the ones a physician may use in a local office setting. There are more than the hospitals wanting the records though, IPAs, HMOs, insurance companies to name a few. One other item to consider is that some physicians have privileges at more than one hospital as well, so there could be competition from that side of the coin as to which hospital's system would the physician utilize. BD
A recent Internal Revenue Service ruling that allows nonprofit hospitals to donate health care information technology to physicians means that private practices can expect to start hearing from those hospitals, says the American Hospital Assn.
Hospitals had been itching to share their electronic medical record and electronic prescribing systems with physician offices, and now they can do so without losing their tax-exempt status. The Office of Inspector General of the Dept. of Health and Human Services in August 2006 created exemptions from federal, state and anti-kickback regulations for hospitals donating technology to doctors.
Physicians also should be aware that the ruling, because it's new, has left some questions unanswered -- particularly whether they can keep the EMR if they sever ties with the hospital and whether they have to pay taxes on it.