One of the heaviest shackles around the necks of health care providers in the United States is made of paper. Paper patient files. Faxes. Consent forms. Patient information captured in multiple formats. Continuity of care documents, in multiple formats.

Electronic health records and health information exchange services are allowing health care professionals to remove those paper shackles for good. Imagine a world where you know instantly if your patient is admitted to the hospital, where you have all the relevant information about a patient from other providers available at your fingertips. That world is closer than you may think.

Numerous physicians across Michigan and the United States are advancing with the digital times and upgrading their offices from paper to electronic medical record based offices, and state and federal governments are putting increasing requirements on health care providers to connect electronically with each other.

Secure, electronic exchange of patient health information is now being vigorously implemented on statewide and nationwide levels, and our government is serious about using this technology to improve health care. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 authorizes the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to provide incentive payments to eligible professionals and hospitals who adopt, implement, upgrade, or demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record technology.

For information on meeting Federal Meaningful Use requirements, click here .

To learn about converting your office to an electronic health record system that satisfies Meaningful Use requirements, click here.

To find information about a sub-state Health Information Exchange in your area, please click here.