The South Leads In Scoring Federal EHR Payments A Government Accountability Office report finds that health care providers from the South received a plurality of Medicare electronic health record incentive payments. Modern Healthcare: GAO: Urban Hospitals, South Lead In EHR PaymentsThe South has risen again, at least in terms of federal incentive payments to hospitals, physicians and other practitioners for the purchase and meaningful use of electronic health-record systems, according a report from the Government Accountability Office. Among hospitals that received EHR incentive payments from Medicare in 2011 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a plurality (44 percent) were in the South, according to a 45-page report from the government watchdog. The Northeast had the smallest share (12 percent) of hospitals receiving payments (Conn, 7/26).Meanwhile, California Healthline reports on another innovation –California Healthline: Direct Messaging Called Major Advance In State’s HIE EffortHealth information exchange conference attendees clustered around a series of kiosks, crowding in to see a hands-on demonstration of direct messaging — a relatively new electronic interface promoted by the national Direct Project that allows secure transmission of a wide variety of files, from MRIs to lab results, even between health care providers with different electronic health record systems. … One of the ways to speed up while taking that turn lies in the use of direct messaging — also known as direct exchange — between providers, [an official with California’s Health Information Exchange] said. The inability to quickly convey information is one of the bigger issues facing providers who use EHR systems, she said (Gorn. 7/26). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.