Tags: EHR , health IT

Despite Incentives, Doctors’ Offices Lag On Digital Records

Date: 05.15.2013 | Zach Urbina">Zach Urbina

Medical Records wallThe good news: Colorado is working to help kids stay current with their immunizations and has a computerized registry where any provider who gives a child a vaccine can report that information.

The bad news:  The state’s computer system is not compatible with most of the computer systems doctors use, so many practices don’t update the central database because it’s just too much extra work, according to Dr. Allison Kempe, a researcher at the University of Colorado. That means doctors and researchers, who try to keep childhood immunizations on track, can’t rely on the database to make sure a vaccine isn’t missed or given twice.

This is just one small example of the digital disconnect that’s holding health care back, says Dr. Art Kellermann, a policy analyst with the RAND Corporation. He says the ability for doctors to easily share information is the exception in America, not the rule.

Kellermann co-authored an article in this month’s Health Affairs, reflecting on a study from 2005 that said information technology could save America $81 billion a year by making health care more efficient. He found actual savings scant in 2012 and learned that many doctors complain electronic records make them less efficient.

The result is that the health care industry isn’t benefiting from the computer networks that have transformed industries such as manufacturing, retail and banking.

Kellerman points out that bank customers can “go to any ATM in the country — and in many cases in other countries” to withdraw money or transfer funds among accounts. “You can’t do that with health information technology today,” he says. via Kaiser Health News | continue reading

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