OU-HCOM aids primary care providers in switch to
electronic medical records
(ATHENS, Ohio – Aug. 26, 2013)The Ohio University Heritage College
of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM) led the state in becoming the
first region to meet a goal of implementing the use of electronic
health records by medical providers in Ohio.
Under the guidance and assistance of the college, more than 500
primary care providers in southeastern Ohio are fully utilizing
electronic health record systems. As a result, those healthcare
providers may now receive federal incentive payments through
Medicare and Medicaid for using technology in ways that are
meaningful to patients and staff.
During a recent visit to the college, Ted Wymyslo, M.D., director of
the Ohio Department of Health, congratulated the region for being
first in signing up its goal of primary care providers. “I was of
proud of you; you put it out there and got it done when no one
thought this was going to happen. This is a fertile environment for
With the advent of the HITECH Act of 2009, states began receiving
grant funding to assist family doctors, internists, pediatricians,
obstetricians/gynecologists with the adoption of electronic health
record systems and to create technology infrastructures to exchange
health information across health systems.
Ohio received $43.8 million to assist 6,000 physicians with EHR
systems as well as to create a statewide health information
exchange. Today, the Ohio Health Information Partnership exceeded
the 6,000-physician goal for signups and created the technological
infrastructure to exchange across health systems, now known as
CliniSync. Close to 100 hospitals across the state now are
contracted to connect to the network.
Kathy Jefford, regional extension center director for OU-HCOM’s
Office of Medical informatics and serving as secretary of the
Appalachian Health Information Exchange (AHIE) board, is the first
of seven regional directors in the state to assist 100 percent of
her physicians priority primary care providers in going live with
electronic health record systems.
Initially charged with signing up 404 primary care providers,
including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and
midwives in the specialties of family medicine, internal medicine,
obstetrics and gynecology, and pediatrics and whom have prescription
authority, Jefford was the first in the state to do so. Since then,
she was assigned 100 more providers, with all 504 spread over 19
Ohio Appalachian counties now utilizing electronic health record
systems, the first region to meet that goal.
OU-HCOM received more than $2.2 million of the $26.8 million
provided to the Ohio regional extension centers from HITECH.
HITECH’s plan of a centralized system of medical records is to
improve healthcare quality, lower costs, and save lives. An
integrated medical records system should allow primary care
physicians the ability to monitor overall patient care including
referrals to other health care specialists or physicians, home
health care and drug prescribing.