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Medicare to Offer Doctors Free EMR Software

Vista Software Used By VA Will Be Given Away

Kent Bottles

 Next month Medicare will start a program to help private doctor's offices computerize their offices by giving away for free the Vista software that has helped make the VA Medical System one of the most advanced in terms of quality improvement and computerization. 

Whether this will be the crucial event that finally makes the private physician computerize his/her office or just another false start, only time will tell.  Right now the estimates are that only 20 to 25% of 650,000 private American physicians are using the electronic medical record.  It will be interesting to see if the Vista software which has the reputation for being a powerful tool for quality improvement and for being difficult to install and to maintain is accepted by private physicians.

Reference:  Gina Kolata, In Unexpected Medicare Benefit, US Will Offer Doctors Free Electronic Records System, The New York Times, July 21, 2005, A14.