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Improved electronic healthcare systems in Ohio will help physicians more effectively treat their patients and medical facilities will be able to provide medical records quicker and more accurately. Thanks to half a billion dollars (Yes, that’s right!) of funding, courtesy of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), doctors, hospitals and many other facilities in the state are reaping these benefits.

Funding from Medicare (up to $44,000) and Medicaid (up to $64,000) is available to hospitals and professional workers that show effective use of  EHR technology. It is offered in 43 states and has already been distributed to more than 12,000 persons and/or businesses here in Ohio. Only five other states receive more funding and there is more money available between now and the end of 2014.

To start an efficient electronic health system in a place of business can often cost between $10,000 and $90,000, depending on the volume of information being processed and how efficiently and quickly the setup process will be. Currently, it is not a requirement for a business to have their medical records recorded electronically. However, after 2014, their reimbursement from Medicare may reduce if electronic records are not in place.

These systems are sold by many companies in the US. However, it’s important that the hardware and software is compatible with other devices and has the capability for the amount of storage space that is needed. And of course, the safety and security of all of the data must meet stringent government guidelines that will be constantly checked.

The Center For Medicare and Medicaid Services is requiring various research data be reported every year to verify the type of treatment administered and additional details regarding patient height/weight and smoking habits. The data will be complied and shared for the benefit of future treatment. However, privacy will not be compromised since  personal information will not be shared.

After the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented (including State and Federal Exchanges), the importance of data-sharing and privacy will increase, as its integrated into the process of comparing and enrolling. Individuals and small businesses will need assurances that their information is safe and secure.