Scores of filing cabinets containing thousands of patient medical records are disappearing into the cloud.
Use of electronic health records systems in doctors’ offices has doubled in recent years, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In 2012, 72 percent of office-based physicians reported using electronic health records, up from 35 percent in 2007, the CDC says.
The report finds that adoption of electronic health records was higher among younger physicians compared with older physicians, among primary-care physicians rather than specialty doctors, and among larger practices than smaller.
This digital revolution among doctors is driven in part by the stimulus bill, which created a system for incentive payments to Medicare and Medicaid physicians who could use electronic health records to improve patient care.
While there’s plenty of anecdotes of patients irritated by their doctors looking at a screen during their appointment, early evidence shows using electronic health records can improve health outcomes. Online systems can remind physicians when patients are due for vaccinations and prescription refills, as well as offer a complete snapshot of the patient’s health history so that doctors can make more informed decisions about treatment.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is helping guide implementation of the Hitech Act reforms. Led by Karen DeSalvo, the office is currently navigating the process of getting different electronic health systems to talk to each other — a process known as interoperability.
“We have made impressive progress on our infrastructure, but we have not reached our shared vision of having this interoperable system where data can be exchanged and meaningfully used to improve care,” DeSalvo said at a recent health information-technology conference.
With electronic health records systems being put to use in thousands of doctors’ offices nationwide, the next step is to be able to transfer patient data across systems, allowing patients with complex conditions to share their medical information with specialty doctors and hospitals.
What We're Following See More »
President Obama became a surprise topic of contention toward the end of the Democratic debate, as Hillary Clinton reminded viewers that Sanders had challenged the progressive bona fides of President Obama in 2011 and suggested that someone might challenge him from the left. “The kind of criticism that we’ve heard from Senator Sanders about our president I expect from Republicans, I do not expect from someone running for the Democratic nomination to succeed President Obama,” she said. “Madame Secretary, that is a low blow,” replied Sanders, before getting in another dig during his closing statement: “One of us ran against Barack Obama. I was not that candidate.”
It’s all about the 1% and Wall Street versus everyone else for Bernie Sanders—even when he’s talking about race relations. Like Hillary Clinton, he needs to appeal to African-American and Hispanic voters in coming states, but he insists on doing so through his lens of class warfare. When he got a question from the moderators about the plight of black America, he noted that during the great recession, African Americans “lost half their wealth,” and “instead of tax breaks for billionaires,” a Sanders presidency would deliver jobs for kids. On the very next question, he downplayed the role of race in inequality, saying, “It’s a racial issue, but it’s also a general economic issue.”
It’s been said in just about every news story since New Hampshire: the primaries are headed to states where Hillary Clinton will do well among minority voters. Leaving nothing to chance, she underscored that point in her opening statement in the Milwaukee debate tonight, saying more needs to be done to help “African Americans who face discrimination in the job market” and immigrant families. She also made an explicit reference to “equal pay for women’s work.” Those boxes she’s checking are no coincidence: if she wins women, blacks and Hispanics, she wins the nomination.
Under pressure from a judge, the State Department will release about 550 of Hillary Clinton’s emails—“roughly 14 percent of the 3,700 remaining Clinton emails—on Saturday, in the middle of the Presidents Day holiday weekend.” All of the emails were supposed to have been released last month. Related: State subpoenaed the Clinton Foundation last year, which brings the total number of current Clinton investigations to four, says the Daily Caller.