Louisiana puts funding toward EHR deployment

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The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) has reported that Gov. Bobby Jindal's budget priority is to improve healthcare through investment in health IT, which will support several statewide initiatives toward the goal of ensuring every Louisianan has an EHR and healthcare providers have access to information they need.

By adding $18.6 million in the proposed Executive Budget for health IT initiatives, the “funding will improve the opportunity for more widespread adoption of technology that can reduce medical errors, streamline the processing of information and improve the management of chronic diseases,” said DHH Secretary Alan Levine.

The governor's budget includes:

  • $4 million toward the investment in the infrastructure for the development of the statewide Louisiana Health Information Exchange (HIE), which will provide the hardware and systems to allow the interoperability of healthcare information between multitudes of providers.
  • $11.1 million for the Louisiana Rural HIE which will allow more rural hospitals to acquire digital technology, opening the gateway for telemedicine and allowing rural providers to participate in the HIE.
  • $3.5 million to provide financial incentives to physicians who utilize recognized electronic medical record software in their practices.

In addition to the funding proposed in the new budget, last December DHH received a federal grant providing $15.9 million to support some of the cost associated with establishing a broadband healthcare network for Louisiana's rural and urban hospitals. The initiative will facilitate the use of EHRs, telemedicine applications and telehealth systems that will connect multiple healthcare providers to both the medically underserved and a number of government research institutions.

“Louisiana is among only 12 states adopting this kind of technology in the country, and we're proud to be a trailblazer on the path to medical advancement,” said Levine.