August 19, 2007

Show me the money!

A Web-exclusive article in last week’s Newsweek wonders What’s Holding Up the Digital Revolution? Concerns over patient privacy and lack of evidence-based quality issues are mentioned, but the article focuses on the high cost of setting up and maintaining electronic records, which are estimated here to cost about $100,000 for an individual practice and more than $50 million for a large hospital. Lack of capital is encouraging the formation in the U.S. of a two-tiered system, where electronic implementation of medical records has mostly been limited to the nation’s larger, better-funded medical centers.  According to the article, “many doctors worry that small hospitals and individual practices—which deliver roughly half of the country’s medical care—could fall further and further behind, either because they can’t afford to go digital or because the cheaper systems they do have money for aren’t good enough to make a difference [in quality or cost of patient care].”  HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt believes that the health care industry should shoulder these costs, not the federal government, though others quoted in the article disagree. The Newsweek article does not mention technology issues that others believe are also threatening the implementation of Bush’s mandate for electronic records throughout the U.S. by 2014..

Powered by WordPress