Reform of the American health care system is a huge part of the current political discourse. A major aspect of that reform as proposed by George Halvorson in his book Health Care Reform Now! is widespread adoption of Electronic Medical Records (EMR's or EHR's).
EMRs are making news on both the east coast and west coast this week. On the east coast Senator Hillary Clinton pressed for EMRs in response to a question from the crowd in a New Hampshire appearance.
C|net news blogger Anne Broache provides a sound bite from Sen. Clinton's comments:
"We go online to buy things from Mongolia, we go online to do our banking, but we can't go online in a secure, encrypted, confidential way to get access to our medical records," she lamented.Diana Manos, Senior Editor of Healthcare IT News also covers the story:
The adoption of EHRs [electronic health records] is not new to Clinton, who has included them as a kingpin to her presidential healthcare platform from the start. Gearing up for New Hampshire's primary next Tuesday, Clinton told voters that moving to electronic records from paper could save an estimated $77 billion in healthcare costs.The other side of the U.S. brings more news about EMRs. Reuters offers a press release about Cisco Systems joining the effort to create the country's largest health information exchange service:
Last May at George Washington University, Clinton said that moving healthcare from paper to electronic records is among several key ways the country could cut runaway healthcare spending by one third.
"Cisco recognized early on the importance of transforming the health careCisco partners with HP, Perot Systems Corporation, and Medicity, Inc. as partners in this effort. The final objective is to enable EMRs to be shared in a confidential manner among health care providers across the state of California as well as through the National Health Information Network (which is currently under development).
system through electronic health records and information sharing," said Nick
Augustinos, Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group Director. "Through
collaboration with CalRHIO and other technology leaders, we believe California
will lead the nation in creating a statewide health information exchange
system that not only supports clinicians, but also helps consumers make better
health care choices."
Before EMRs grabbed the attention of the U.S. Presidential contenders, healthcare delivery systems were already moving toward shared electronic records. Prompted by individual states or by financial self-interest, health care providers and employers have decided not to wait for federal legislation. Now that the politicians are climbing on board, it's hard to imagine a future that does not include easy access to medical records over the Internet.
SOURCE: "Clinton presses for electronic medical records" 01/04/08
SOURCE: "Clinton: Time to digitize all Americans' medical records" 01/04/08
SOURCE: "Cisco Joins CalRHIO Effort to Build Country's Largest Statewide Health Information..." 01/07/08
photo courtesy of Kevin Zollman, used under this Creative Commons license