Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Why doesn’t the US have an integrated EMR

Why doesn’t the US have a single integrated electronic medical records system for sharing patient information. The promise from an integrated EMR is clear.  In an interview for Marketplace, Dr. Neal Weinberg says: Not having immediate, accurate information in one chart can lead to complications for the patient, they could die, they could be pretty […]

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The downside of EHRs

Electronic Health Records can help doctors access the information they need regardless of whether they have treated you before. Setting up integrated health care systems or systems where EHR networks are interoperable can improve this facility across healthcare organizations. However, this approach is not without risks, as shown by this recent hacking episode at Anthem. […]

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The downside of EMRs

…is the potential for data breaches. Experian’s 2015 industry data breach forecast notes the following: We expect healthcare breaches will increase — both due to potential economic gain and digitization of records. Increased movement to electronic medical records (EMRs), and the introduction of wearable technologies introduced millions of individuals into the healthcare system, and, in […]

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“The medical marketplace is broken”

This quote is from David Blumenthal, a physician and former Harvard Medical School professor, who was the national coordinator for health information technology between 2009-2011.  He describes in an interview for the Atlantic why adoption of electronic medical records has been so slow in the U.S. From the patient’s perspective, this is a no-brainer. The benefits […]

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Why a national EMR may never happen in the U.S.

Technophiles pine for the data when any hospital or clinic can access all your health information from a single source.  Due to competitive pressures, however, it is unlikely that a national EMR will emerge in the near future.  Miller and Tucker (JHE 2014) explain: We find empirically that larger hospital systems are more likely to […]

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Use EMR…or else!

Hayward Zwerling of the Health Care Blog notes that a large number of doctors in Massachusetts may soon be losing their license.  Section 108 of Chapter 224 of the Acts of 2012 states: The first paragraph of section 2 of chapter 112 of the General Laws … is hereby amended by inserting (the following)… The board (of […]

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Are Electronic Health Records Cost Effective?

It depends on who you ask. In the private market without health insurance, the answer is maybe.  Do patients value the ability for physicians (and hospitals) to rapidly review their records more than it cost the physician to install them?  If so, then they would be cost-effective as physicians could cover their cost by charging […]

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EMR and Second Opinions

Electronic medical records have been touted as producing large gains in efficiency.  In fact, Kaiser Permanente has invested $3 billion in EMR.  One drawback of EMR, however, is that the value of second opinions may fall.  Instead of coming to a new physician with a clean slate or at the least seeking a fresh interpretation […]

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Getting Electronic Medical Records Right

Currently, only 1.5% of U.S. hospitals have electronic records systems covering all their clinical units; an additional 7.6% have systems in at least one such hospital unit (Jha et al. 2009).  This low EMR usage rate is astounding, especially since the RAND Corporation found that using EMR could save up to $77 billion annually.  The […]

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Will technology kill health care?

Information technology has the possibility of greatly increasing the efficiency of health care.  EMRs can reduce the cost of accessing patient information.  New technologies can make medical devices more effective.   But is there a cost to increased medical technology?  GigaOM wonders “…will widespread diagnostics increase the burden on healthcare? Somewhere between 10 and 50 […]

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