I spent two hours this evening listening to a fascinating presentation by Dr. Mike Bainbridge (Head of Clinical Application Design for the National Programme for IT in the NHS, England). The program was organized by THINK: The Health Informatics NetworK at the University of British Columbia.
The scale of project in England is significant - seeking to connect 50 million patients via an electronic health record. England is already 20 years down the path towards computerization and as of April 1, 2004 family physicians will be paid according to a new payment structure. My understanding is that moving forward, payment will be linked to the clinical data that resides in their EMR systems. In addition, UK family physicians will receive computer equipment and software at no cost (100% funded by the NHS). Previously physicians qualified for 50% reimbursement on technology investments.
It appears to me that the UK is leading by example in terms of recognizing the importance of making technology available to physicians at no cost to the physician. Should we be following the NHS lead in Canada and fully funding EMR and computers for physicians? Click on the 'Comments' link below.