New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Monday announced the city will soon launch a program that aims to bolster preventive care delivery by equipping physicians with electronic medical records (EMRs) software, the New York Times reports. Developed with $60 million from city, state and federal grants, the system will enable physicians to view patients’ medical histories, lab results and current medication within the same interface, as well as share data with other providers. In addition, the system will offer users regularly updated information, alerts for issues such as expired prescriptions or necessary health screenings, and resources on current best practices. With its security safeguards, the system will enable patients and physicians to view who has accessed their records and lock specific information behind a firewall. The city’s health department also will have access to general anonymous data for tracking progress such as how well patients are controlling their blood pressure overall. Thus far, 200 physicians treating 200,000 patients have committed to adopting the system, and the city aims to enroll 1,000 physicians to improve care for 1 million patients by the end of 2008, according to the city’s health commissioner. To encourage broader system adoption, the city will cover some expenses for eligible physicians including licenses, on-site training, software tools and two years of technical support. Physicians are eligible for assistance if 30 percent of their patients are uninsured or on Medicaid, though the city requests that practices provide their own computers and provide $4,000 to the Fund for Public Health in New York for continued technical support. City officials expect that the network will not only reduce costs by eliminating duplicative tests and ensuring use of generic medications but also spur reimbursement changes by allowing government programs to compare outcomes and reward high-performing physicians. Noting that New York City’s program could serve as a national model “for preventing illness rather than merely treating people after they’re already sick,” Bloomberg called on all physicians nationwide that earn reimbursements from Medicaid and Medicare to adopt an EMR system by (Santora, New York Times, 2/26/08).