Thursday, September 25, 2008

EMRs Introduced as a Bill in Congress

U.S. Representative Pete Stark has struck a blow for electronic medical records by bringing the issue to the floor of congress, and just as importantly includes language that allows patients the right to sue for wrongful use of those records.

One of the consistent bugaboos facing the acceptance of EMRs has been that of privacy. In an era of data aggregation and the widespread harvesting of any and all sorts of demographic info, the worry about misuse of the data is a continuing concern to most people. Stark's bill would allow patients to request and audit trail of their data and its use. In addition, the Health-e Information Technology Act of 2008 also contains provisions requiring notification within 60 days if any sort of breach in privacy of these electronic records has occurred.

The general concept is the leveraging of Medicare and creation of financial incentives as reported by Medical News Today:

Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), chair of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, introduced a bill Monday that aims to create a national system of electronic medical records that would use Medicare reimbursement to encourage hospitals and physicians to adopt new technologies, CongressDaily reports. The measure would create a series of incentives for physicians and hospitals that utilize an approved health information technology system. It also would encourage adoption of the new technologies by providing funds through a matching grant program geared toward those who provide care in low-income, rural and medically under served areas, not-for-profit facilities and providers who receive little or no Medicare incentives.
SOURCE: "Rep. Stark Introduces Bill To Create Electronic Medical Records System, Strengthen Privacy" 09/17/08
photo courtesy of ArtNow314, used under its Creative Commons license

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