Increasingly, collections of medical records are stored and shared digitally by multiple medical service providers. RAND research has explored the costs of implementing electronic medical record systems; the benefits accrued, including the improved quality of care; the rate of technology adoption; individual privacy concerns; and the role of government in the use and growth of electronic recordkeeping.
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Despite wide investments nationally in electronic medical records and related tools, the cost-saving promise of health information technology has not been reached because the systems deployed are neither interconnected nor easy to use.
Inadequate care coordination is a major problem in health care delivery, but information technology is emerging as an important tool for enhancing coordination and, ultimately, improving the delivery of care, writes Robert Rudin.
Globally, the health IT industry should not wait to be forced by government regulators into doing a better job. Developers can boost the pace of adoption by creating more standardized systems that are easier to use, truly interoperable, and afford patients greater access to and control over their personal health data.
Across the country, electronic medical records, designed first and foremost to make health care delivery safer and more efficient, are proving valuable when disaster strikes, write Mahshid Abir and Art Kellermann.
Providing physicians with cost data in real time automatically as a part of the electronic medical record could make them better purchasers for their patients and provide better value, writes Robert H. Brook.
From the standpoint of policy makers, the basic challenge is to ensure that liability concerns do not derail the clinical value of new CDS technology, write Michael Greenberg and M. Susan Ridgely.
As it considers ways to improve the efficiency and quality of U.S. health care, one issue that a new Congress should reconsider is the longstanding roadblock that has stalled efforts to create a system of unique patient identification numbers for every person in the United States, writes Richard Hillestad.
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