Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Investment in Electronic Health Records Shows Improvements in Care

President Obama has pledged $19 billion to implement electronic health records (EHRs), aiming to reduce errors in care, while lowering costs.

The Los Angeles Times reports improvements at several hospitals where physicians are using EHRs to keep better track of their patients' medical histories. One hospital reported that an electronic prescribing system has virtually eliminated prescription errors.

Despite the advantages offered by EHRs, there are many facilities still weary of the transition. Implementing an EHR system will come at a cost of about $30,000 per physician. Furthermore, it is not guaranteed that one facility's system will be compatible with another facility's. There is also concern from patient groups about the security of their data and who should be granted access to it.

President Obama's health IT initiative in the stimulus package will offer funding to those facilities implementing EHRs. Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Human Services is set to work on standards regarding the use of EHRs.

Source: The Los Angeles Times

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