American Academy of Family Physicians Leading the Way for Electronic Health Records and Patient Safety
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sunday, November 23, 2003
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237, Ext. 5223
The AAFP has taken major steps to make EHRs affordable to family physicians. Recognizing that cost is the number one barrier for most physicians wishing to purchase EHR systems, the AAFP has formed numerous strategic alliances with a variety of leading information technology companies to provide affordable, compatible EHR systems to family physicians. Four basic principles guide these strategic alliances and serve as the foundation for the adoption of health information technology by family physicians. The principles are:
- Affordability – Recognizing the limited capital available to family physicians in small medical practices, the AAFP’s partnering firms will discount their prices and work with the AAFP to increase the volume of their sales for software and hardware.
- Compatibility – Compatibility will be achieved through efforts to standardize connectivity interfaces between office-based systems, such as the EHR, and key information resources for electronic prescribing, laboratory result reporting and hospital information systems.
- Interoperability – Interoperability standards, such as the Continuity of Care Record, will be jointly developed by the AAFP and partnering companies to permit seamless data exchange among physicians, other providers and patients.
- Data stewardship – Data stewardship will become an increasingly important challenge as larger amounts of physician-generated health information are collected, stored and managed in systems and databases across the country. These data must be protected, kept secure and used only for ethical purposes that support the highest values of the medical profession.
- Patients – EHRs give health care providers the tools they need to ensure patients receive the most timely, appropriate and efficient medical care possible, therefore reducing medical errors and duplication of services. These tools include drug information, patient history, clinical guidelines and screening recommendations. EHRs increase screening and preventive care and reduce complications, including drug errors.
- Physicians – Physician offices that incorporate EHR systems into their daily practice are able to integrate health information, clinical knowledge and patient resources at the office-based point of care. All of this information is housed in an EHR. Evidence-based guidelines can be rapidly incorporated, along with recommendations and guidelines as they are issued.
- Medical Community – Transactions between the office-based environment and other sources of health information, such as pharmacies and laboratories, are efficient and secure with EHRs.
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To learn more about the AAFP’s efforts to make EHRs available to members, please visit the AAFP Center for Health Information Technology at www.aafp.org/centerforhit.xml.
Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 110,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.
Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is 240 million office visits each year — nearly 87 million more than the next largest medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.
To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org.