Medicare to provide free software to help physicians go paperless

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In a surprising move, Medicare plans to announce an initiative to distribute electronic health records (EHR) software to physicians as part of a free program with a goal of helping medical practices make the shift to more of a paperless environment, the New York Times has reported.
  
Medicare will distribute proven software called Vista to physicians beginning in August to try to get the level of medical practice adoption above the currently estimated level of 20-25 percent. Resistance to EHRs is largely due to cost, though Medicare insists that through their program the costs will be significantly less. Traditionally, installation of EHR systems could cost a private practice as much as $100,000. However, through the implementation of Vista costs are estimated to likely be around the $10,000 to $12,000 level.
   
Medicare hopes that the costs benefits and their endorsement of this software will calm worries and help boost adoption.
Additionally, some physicians have feared that the Vista software installation process is problematic, yet Medicare claims that the simplified version to be given away is built for smaller offices and is much simpler to install than software for larger facilities. In case of problems, Medicare will provide practices with a list of companies that can assist with installation issues.