Two Calif. Primary Care Physicians Lead the Way in Transitioning from Paper to Electronic Health Records

By: | Tags: , , , , , , | June 2nd, 2011

OAKLAND, Calif., June 2, 2011–Two California primary care physicians are being recognized this week by the California Health Information Partnership and Services Organization (CalHIPSO) for their leadership in the nationwide transition from paper to electronic health records (EHRs). Pediatrician Sheldon Zitman, M.D., Santa Clara, and family practitioner Joseph Bettencourt, M.D., Templeton, are among the first CalHIPSO member practices to become “meaningful users” of certified EHR technology.

“Dr. Zitman and Dr. Bettencourt have demonstrated that using electronic health records in a meaningful way can help a small medical practice better serve patients,” said Elise Singer, M.D., CalHIPSO’s chief medical officer. “We commend them for being early adopters and for their willingness to share their experience with their colleagues. Their accomplishment puts CalHIPSO Northern and Southern California members at the forefront of the national effort to improve the quality and safety of medical care through an electronically-enabled health care system.”

By “attesting” that they have achieved the initial set of meaningful use criteria, Drs. Zitman and Bettencourt qualify to receive federal funding to help finance their electronic health record system. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), Medicare and Medi-Cal provide reimbursement incentives for eligible professionals and hospitals that use an electronic health record “in a meaningful manner,” such as sending medication prescriptions electronically to pharmacies, electronically sharing important patient information with other providers and hospitals, and educating patients. Reimbursement incentives range from up to $44,000 under Medicare or as much as $63,750 under Medi-Cal.

“CalHIPSO has been a great help in enabling me to achieve meaningful use earlier and more efficiently,” said Dr. Bettencourt. “Now that we’ve gotten farther along in the process, I can see what the meaningful use criteria are intended to achieve. Managing my practice and communicating with patients has become a lot easier.”

Dr. Zitman and Dr. Bettencourt both implemented eClinicalWorks EHR software in their practices. eClinicalWorks is one of seven EHR Vendor Partners that is working with CalHIPSO members throughout California to achieve meaningful use. “eClinicalWorks has worked closely with its providers to deliver the tools and education needed to aid them in demonstrating meaningful use,” said Girish Kumar Navani, CEO and co-founder of eClinicalWorks. “With features such as our MAQ Dashboards, free RoadShows and educational Webinars, eClinicalWorks makes it easy for doctors to attest. We congratulate Dr. Bettencourt, Dr. Sheldon Zitman and all of our customers that have successfully attested.”

The California Health Information Partnership and Services Organization (CalHIPSO) is the federally-designated Regional Extension Center for California (excluding Los Angeles and Orange Counties), funded by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to assist 6,187 clinicians in becoming meaningful users of EHRs. A non-profit, vendor-neutral organization, it was founded by the California Medical Association (CMA), the California Primary Care Association (CPCA) and the California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (CAPH). For more information, visit