Docs Foresee Trouble With Digitizing Records

For electronic records, money is there but technology isn't
By Clay Dillow,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2009 10:27 AM CDT
Dr. Cecil Wilson is in no rush to convert his nearly 5,000 patient charts from paper to digital.   (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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(Newser) – The administration's push to digitize health records is raising red flags with an important constituency: doctors. "We have a long way to go," said the lead author of a report out today that shows only 9% of hospitals have computerized records. His article is part of a 1-2 punch in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine casting light on the daunting challenge, the New York Times reports.

One major problem is the outmoded systems currently in place, which don't allow input from outside programmers. Spending the $19 billion budgeted for the electronic-records on perpetuating the current model would be a disaster, another team of doctors warns. Says a co-author: "If the government’s money goes to cement the current technology in place, we will have a very hard time innovating in health care reform.”