North Carolina’s largest health insurer is part of a $23 million effort to get hundreds of physicians statewide to produce patient records electronically instead of using paper files.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and Chicago-based Allscripts, which creates and markets electronic health records, announced a partnership Wednesday to offer software, training and support to more than 750 physicians, including those who work in 39 free clinics across the state.

“It’s meaningful when a family receives vital, faster, better care because vital records are available when doctors need them most wherever a patient might be,” Blue Cross President and Chief Executive Brad Wilson said.

Wilson and Allscripts officials said that, when physicians, hospitals and other health care providers can share patient records electronically, quality of care is improved, errors were reduced and wasteful tests can be eliminated. All of that should reduce health care costs, leading to lower insurance premiums, they said.

Blue Cross is investing $15 million and Allscripts is kicking in $8 million for the initiative, dubbed the North Carolina Program to Advance Technology for Health, or NC-PATH.

The initiative will pay all of the costs of adopting electronic medical records for the free clinics and will pick up 85 percent of the costs for the other physicians.

Reporter: Renee Chou
Photographer: Edward Wilson
Web Editor: Matthew Burns

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