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Wyoming Offers Free EHR to Medcaid Providers

June 1, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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The Wyoming Department of Health, along with Medical Informatics Engineering (MIE), a web-based electronic health record (EHR) provider, has announced it is the first state to offer a free, fully certified EHR to any and all Medicaid providers in Wyoming.  MIE's WebChart EHR will be the EHR offered by the Wyoming Department of Health.

“Initially, we had a limited EHR adoption rate in Wyoming because many of our physicians come from small to mid-sized practices and were unable to find a cost effective and efficient EHR solution that wouldn’t disrupt workflow,” James Bush, M.D. and medical director of the Wyoming Department of Health, said in a statement. “Many of our physicians also believed that there was no point in having an EHR if it didn’t connect with a health information exchange (HIE), hospitals, labs, pharmacies and/or other physician specialists.”   

According to Bush, by offering a free EHR to Medicaid providers, the department was able to test the notion of electronic health records with minimal risk to the physician while also integrating all health data from participating Medicaid physicians into the Wyoming Department of Health’s HIE.  He says this gives it a big picture look at the state’s biggest health issues and helps it strategically address these issues.

The initiative began in early 2011 has been rolled out slowly to Medicaid providers across the state.  To date, the state has over 36 providers, 16 practices and over 31,000 patients registered in WebChart EHR from MIE, with all data flowing automatically into the Department of Health’s HIE.  

 “We didn’t want to roll anything out too fast until we had the implementation process perfected,” Bush said.  “Physicians can sign up for the web-based EHR in less than 10 minutes.  After one day of training with an MIE implementer, the practices are up and running with an EHR the very next day with minimal effort and disruption.  The easy implementation, combined with an easy-to-use system, allowed the state to bring in several million dollars in meaningful use incentives in 2012.”  

Along with the EHR, the state added a personal health record (PHR) from NoMoreClipboard to the offering last month.  This system is intended to encourage high cost and high risk Medicaid patients to manage their healthcare plan and help improve their quality of life.  In the future Bush says its vision is to develop a complete patient medical home, which he says can build an interface between higher need Medicaid patients and all of the medical providers who handle their care. 

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