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The Complexities to Creating Real Electronic Health Records

Apr 27, 2010, 23:03 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by David Lane)

"If you have been paying attention (even if you do not live in the United States), you know that the U.S. Congress passed a broad, sweeping piece of legislation, purported to reform health care in the United States. What you probably do not know (even if you do live in the United States) is that this is not the first piece of legislation to target the issue of health care. In fact, a number of pieces of legislation, and a fair amount of money, has been thrown at the issue of health care in the United States in the last few years, specifically in the area of electronic health records. But with all of this focus on streamlining and digitally electrifying health records, I began to wonder where did the Open Source community stand and where is its input? There is certainly a lot of money sitting out there for someone who wants to try to build the better mouse trap.

"What got me thinking about this was an article in the Spring 2010 issue of 2600 that reminded that the issue of record keeping, one of the so called linchpins of reducing a lot of the costs of health care, is not as simple an issue as you might expect. The article cites the break-in and ransom of the Commonwealth of Virginia's Prescription Monitoring program. This is not the first time I have written about it. But for me, it highlighted one of the many issues that need to be considered when we talk about an eHealth record system. To me, this and a couple of other issues need to be highlighted to better understand the full scope of the problem.

"Electronic health records need to be about more than just cost recovery. You could argue that electronic health records are already widely used. And I would not argue with you. I have records in more than my share of medical facilities. But the core purpose of these records is not about patient care, but financial recovery."

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