Magazine article USA TODAY , Vol. 140, No. 2797
The handwriting on your prescription is not the only thing about the typical doctor that is hard to understand. Several recent studies have shown that the vast majority of physicians in the U.S. have not adopted the standardized use of Electronic Health Records (EHRs), and that may be one of the driving forces behind rising health care costs. Preliminary estimates from the 2010 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, which is conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Ga., showed that the percentage of physicians with EHRs that met the criteria of a basic system by state ranged from 12.5% to 51.5%. However, after excluding 27 states with unreliable estimates, the percentage of physicians having fully functional systems ranged from 9.7% to 27.2%.
"Tracking medical problems can prevent complications of chronic illnesses such as heart attacks and strokes and can increase the overall quality of care," notes Angel Garcia, CEO of Global Medical Consultants. "Moreover, the cost savings of having widespread adoption of EHR in the U.S. health care industry would reduce costs by more than 30% per year--an annual savings of over $720,000,000,000. …