Electronic Health Records Their Time Has Come After Almost Two Decades Of Advocacy The Health Care System Might Finally Be Ready To Take Full Advantage Of Information Technology To Improve Quality And Efficiency Electronic Health Records

Title: Electronic Health Records Their Time Has Come: After Almost Two Decades of Advocacy, The Health Care System Might Finally Be Ready to Take Full Advantage of Information Technology to Improve Quality and Efficiency (Electronic HEALTH RECORDS) - Issues in Science and Technology

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Author: Issues in Science and Technology

Release date: 2009-06-22

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In 1991, when portable computers were the size of sewing machines and the World Wide Web was aborning, the Institute of Medicine proposed a plan for how emerging technologies could be used to improve medical recordkeeping. The plan highlighted the potential of health information systems in general, and computer-based patient records specifically, to support health care professionals as they make decisions at the point of care. It also called for developing a national health information infrastructure. The goal was to achieve ubiquitous use of such patient records by all U.S. health care delivery organizations by 2001. The goal was overly ambitious. But the proposed plan proved to be an important milestone in the evolution of thinking about patient data and the health information infrastructure needed within organizations and the nation. And such thought is now turning into action. In early 2009, with passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the government committed its first serious investment in electronic health records (EHRs) and in developing a national health information infrastructure. The act calls for achieving widespread use of EHRs by 2014, and it provides $36 billion to support the use of EHRs in clinical settings and another $2 billion to coordinate their implementation.

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