[ Wednesday, June 27, 2007 ]


Crisis? Some people consider the low adoption rate of electronic medical records in the US by healthcare practitioners to be a "crisis." It's probably primarily a cost/benefit issue, compounded by a a few additional factors: adoption issues by frontline workers (how disruptive will this be to my high-school-educated staff?), overall cost (sure the basic system costs $X, but what about upgrades/patches/service?), interoperability and platform issues (Betamax?, or for the younger crowd, Blu-Ray or HD-DVD?), and efficacy (I know how to find information in paper records, will I be able to find it in my EMR?), all of which are, at heart, cost/benefit issues.

Another issue that's a little less of a cost-benefit issue is the security issue. HIPAA's privacy and security regulatory matrix came about because the feds figured if they were going to push people to use electronic data interchange, they would be raising the risk profile due to the electronic nature of the information and its transit in cyberspace. Electronically stored and transmitted info is at substantially more risk than info on paper, since it can be intercepted, viewed, and analyzed much more efficiently and stealthily than paper records. People are nervous about data breaches and privacy issues, and some of those people are patients of some of those providers.

That's also a cost/benefit decision. Aren't they all, ultimately?

Jeff [8:45 AM]

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