E-Records Improve Care, But Cost Discourages Doctors

Insurers, hospitals are main beneficiaries; feds weigh financial incentives
By Laila Weir,  Newser User
Posted Jun 19, 2008 3:37 PM CDT
Under Secretary of the United States Department of Commerce for Technology Robert C. Cresanti (left) presented an innovation award to MEDecision Founder/CEO David St.Clair for the company's electronic...   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Doctors aren’t using electronic health records, though they lead to better care, a study reports. Why? The costs are prohibitive, especially for small private practices. E-records do bring savings—but for insurers and hospitals, not doctors who invest in them. The government is experimenting with financial incentives for doctors to switch over, the New York Times notes.

Of doctors using e-records, 82% said they improved the quality of clinical decisions, 86% said they helped avoid medication mistakes and 85% said they improved preventive care. “I am doing a better job with the patients I am seeing,” said one doctor who started using electronic records almost 2 years ago. “It almost forces you to be a better doctor.”