Moving Toward a National Health Record System

UCSF Receives Funding as Part of National Health Care Reform

UCSF nurse Mimi Nolasco-Gaffud charts patient medication using the new electronic health records system, which recently went live throughout UCSF Medical Center.

UCSF Medical Center's recent adoption of a new electronic health record system, called APeX, not only advances patient safety, it enables UCSF to comply with a federal mandate requiring all health providers and hospitals to shift to electronic medical records as part of national health care reform.

The Obama administration provided grants as incentives to implement electronic records as part of a movement toward creating a national private and secure electronic health information system. States have been asked to help build the infrastructure for a health information exchange, which enables health records to follow patients within and across communities, helping health care providers and patients to make the best decisions about care, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology

On June 19, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that more than $5.7 billion in incentive payments have been paid to hospitals and health care providers for implementing electronic health records systems that meet federal standards.

UCSF has received its first payment from the Obama administration of $2.6 million and anticipates receiving an additional $2.9 million in September 2012 for implementing electronic medical records system. 

"We should receive future incentive payments of $29 million between 2013-2017, as we demonstrate further adoption of the electronic health record," said Pamela Hudson, executive director of clinical systems at the medical center and program director for APeX.

The total capital budget for implementing UCSF's APeX is $165 million and the system cuts across approximately 168 clinics, two hospitals and the UCSF Orthopaedic Institute at Mission Bay.

The electronic medical records system is critically important to the academic medical center's mission of teaching and training future health care professionals and an important a breakthrough in the way in which care is delivered, Hudson said.