Electronic Health Record; Health Reform
Health information technology (HIT) has the potential to advance health care quality by helping patients with acute and chronic conditions receive recommended care, diminishing disparities in treatment and reducing medical errors. Nevertheless, HIT dissemination has not occurred rapidly, due in part to the high costs of electronic health record (EHR) systems for providers of care—including the upfront capital investment, ongoing maintenance and short-term productivity loss. Also, many observers are concerned that, if HIT follows patterns observed with other new medical technologies, HIT and EHRs may diffuse in ways that systematically disadvantage vulnerable patient populations, thus increasing or maintaining existing disparities in access to and quality of care. These and other concerns have led to public and private efforts that aim to increase the pace of and reduce disparities in HIT diffusion by formulating national plans for dissemination, catalyzing the development of standards to encourage interoperability and promoting public-private partnerships to develop HIT infrastructures at the local and regional levels.
Blumenthal, D., DesRoches, C., Donelan, K., Rosenbaum, S., & Ferris, T. (2006). Health information technology in the United States: The information base for progress. Princeton, NJ: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.