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CRF Blog » Blog Archive » Why Don’t More Hospitals Use Electronic Health Records?

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Why Don’t More Hospitals Use Electronic Health Records?

by Bill Hayes

Bloomberg Businessweek reports on Why More Hospitals Don’t Use Electronic Health Records.

Countries with national health-care systems such as Denmark, Sweden, and New Zealand have largely dispensed with records on paper. According to a study by the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund, Danish doctors reported in the late 1990s that they were saving 30 minutes a day by prescribing drugs and ordering lab reports electronically. A 2010 study by the same organization said the annual salaries of New Zealand’s family doctors had risen 50 percent in five years, thanks to increased funding and their prolific use of EHRs.

In the U.S., things are different. Some providers, such as Kaiser, the Mayo Clinic, and, interestingly, the Veterans Administration, have installed sophisticated data systems. For the most part, though, American doctors have resisted. They worry about the privacy of their patients’ records — and that plaintiffs’ attorneys will use the computerized data against them in malpractice suits. And they resent that they’re expected to shoulder the cost of new technology that might help their patients or insurance companies, but would do little for their own bottom lines. [more]