Byline: JEREMY COX
Doctors and nurses across Northeast Florida are trading in pens for keyboards as health care providers make the slow, expensive and often tumultuous transition to electronic medical records.
Most Jacksonville area hospitals are using a computerized record-keeping system or, if not, are working toward that goal. Physician practices lag a bit behind, but the number moving from paper to pixels is accelerating.
Will that transition speed up, what with President Barack Obama's $19 billion effort to improve the use of information technology in health care? And will that technology, once implemented, allow local providers to share patient medical records, thereby demolishing one of the biggest stumbling blocks in modern health care?
The answer to both questions, health care administrators and information technology advocates say, is the same: probably not. Unless there are significant changes locally and nationally.
"This, from a technological standpoint, is like John F. Kennedy saying, 'By the end of this decade, we will put a man on the moon,'" said Keith Justice, an oncologist/hematologist who heads Flagler Hospital's cancer center. "Right now is 1962 and we need 1970 material."
SYSTEMS CAUSING HEADACHES