Electronic Health-Care Records Could Help Save Lives

By Erdley, Debra | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 22, 2009 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Electronic Health-Care Records Could Help Save Lives

Erdley, Debra, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

On-again, off-again initiatives to pull the nation's 815,000 physicians into the computer age are on again, and a group of Pittsburgh-area physicians could be on the cutting edge of the latest effort.

For years, health-care economists have maintained that clear, interactive, computerized patient health records would enhance patient safety and cut health-care costs. But only a handful of physicians use such systems.

Now, the Obama administration -- spurred by the president's campaign pledge to computerize the nation's health-care records by 2014 -- is pushing Congress for subsidies that could move physicians from paper records and make digital health-care records a reality.

Last fall, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, called CMS, enlisted 200 Pittsburgh-area physicians in small practices to participate in its latest pilot project. The project is scheduled to get under way this summer and could serve as a model for Obama's larger proposal.

Dr. Louis DiToppa, 51, a family practitioner who maintains a solo practice in White Oak, said it can't come too soon.

It didn't take much to persuade DiToppa, who studied engineering as an undergraduate and embraced technology, that electronic patient records make sense.

His office has maintained electronic patient records for years and was transmitting prescriptions to pharmacies electronically even before Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield set aside $29 million last year to help Western Pennsylvania physicians begin prescribing online.

He's signed up for incentives that may be available through the CMS pilot project and has encouraged colleagues to make the leap.

"God forbid if you keel over in front of Allegheny General Hospital and you're a (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) patient because they can't get into each other's systems. If you shared the information, you'd be able to reduce the cost immensely," DiToppa said.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Electronic Health-Care Records Could Help Save Lives


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?