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Electronic Medical Records: A Slow Path

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Electronic Medical Records: A Slow Path

December 16, 2008

Electronic medical records, also known as electronic health records or EMRs, allow physicians and patients to access patient files, test results and even medical images online. Although the hope is to catch medical errors, save money and coordinate care among a patient's medical providers, electronic medical records have been slow in catching on because of high costs, provider resistance, the need for standardization, and patient privacy issues. According to an April 2009 article in The New England Journal of Medicine, less than 2 percent of hospitals responding to a survey had an electronic records system in all clinical units. An additional 7.6 percent had a basic system in at least one clinical unit, the survey found. As more companies from Blue Cross to Google to Microsoft work to develop easy-to-use products, more health care providers will be moving records into cyberspace. The Obama Administration has made the implementation of electronic medical records a top priority. Updated February 2010

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