15 October 2009

Computerized Health Records

DP: What’s the downside of paper?

DB: It doesn’t capitalize on the tremendous power of computers, which have transformed the use of information in every other part of our lives, business and travel and leisure.

DP: Where do we stand relative to other countries?

DB: Most other countries have much more use of electronic health records than we do.

DP: How is all of this supposed to bring down medical costs?

…. So I avoided giving the patient a dose of radiation that he didn’t need. I avoided the expense of that test. And I got the information sooner.

DP: And how much does it cost? For, say, one doctor?

DB: On average, the cost is between $40,000 and $50,000, of which about a third is the software and the hardware, about a third is the cost of getting it set up in the office, and about a third is maintaining it. …

DP: I’m sure you hear this at the cocktail parties all the time: “What about my privacy?”


But people on my Medical Informatics list are leery of this.  That is, it sounds like a nice idea, but has a lot of issues both from the technological point of view and usability, in addition to privacy and the others. There is some discussion of this at NEJM and AMIA

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