America’s hospitals and doctors’ clinics have until 2015 to become completely computerized in all aspects of patient care and record keeping. To that end, the National Office of Rural Health has awarded the Franklin County Medical Center in Preston, Idaho a grant of $831,574 to get its health records computerized. “We have about four years to meet the ‘Federal Meaningful Use’ guidelines for computer use in hospitals and physician offices,” said FCMC administrator Mike Andrus. “It is a short time frame to do it, but we’ve been working on it literally for years and this will be really helpful in us being able to finish it up in a timely way.” Andrus said computer applications in hospitals and doctors offices have not been adopted as rapidly as in other industries. “The federal government is probably thinking that by forcing the adoption in hospitals and clinics they’re going to accelerate their use and create efficiencies and enhance safety and quality at the same time.” He said this would involve four family practice doctors who work fulltime in Preston and about eight visiting specialists like orthopedic surgeons and general surgeons and OBGYN doctors that visit weekly. The Franklin County Medical Center includes a hospital with 20 acute care beds, an emergency room, a nursing home with 45 beds and homecare, all with 220 employees. Andrus said the grant would be paid in three installments, the first one coming this fiscal year.
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