Hawaii Blue plan offers $20M EMR boost for MDs

Hawaii's Blue Cross Blue Shield plan, the Hawaii Medical Service Association, has launched a $50 million initiative aimed at improving health quality in the state, $20 million of which will go to helping independent physicians adopt EMRs. As part of its efforts, the HMSA Initiative for Innovation and Quality will award $10 million to selected hospitals each year for the next three years, funding projects that reviewers feel are likely to improve patient care and outcomes (only HMSA's 17 contracted hospitals are eligible.) The remaining $20 million will go to assisting the state's independent physicians in bringing EMRs into their practices. HMSA is willing to pay up to $20,000, or roughly half the cost of an average EMR system, to help physicians roll out an EMR system. Still, footing even part of an EMR bill will be painful for many practices, Kailua dermatologist Dr. Philip Hellreich told the Advertiser. If current studies of physician behavior are on target, $20,000 may not offer enough of a pain-killer.

Get more background on the HMSA effort:
- check out this article from The Honolulu Advertiser
- see the HMSA release

Related Articles:
- A recent study suggests that physicians are proving resistant to adopting EMRs--and that when they do adopt EMRs, practices aren't leveraging them effectively. Article
- One vendor is offering $10 million in free software to foster community EMR adoption. Article