A slow, steady move to health IT

More physicians are using health IT. “U.S. doctors increasingly are ditching pen and paper and sending prescriptions to pharmacies electronically, lured by up to $27 billion in government funds aimed at speeding the switch to electronic medical records. There are now 200,000 doctors who use e-prescribing, or roughly one in three office-based doctors.” E-prescribing is only one piece of the health IT puzzle doctors must solve to get their share of the funds (Steenhuysen, 9/21).
Chattanooga Times Free Press: Even as many doctors prepare to take the leap, “change never comes easily.”

“Only a handful of U.S. doctors are using electronic medical records now, surveys show. In 2008, about 17 percent of U.S. doctors had either a fully functional or basic electronic medical records system, according to a study published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine. But almost 40 percent of those surveyed who were not using an electronic system said their practice intended to implement such a system in the coming years. They cited costs and a fear of early obsolescence as barriers to faster action” (Bregel, 9/20).

The (Corbin, Ky.) Times-Tribune: One hope for health IT supporters is that simple changes, like switching from sloppy handwriting to keyboards, will make health care safer. Currently, such mistakes of interpretation can lead to medical errors. “Jellico Community Hospital will begin using a Computerized Provider Order Entry system (CPOE) Tuesday that will help do away with those errors, said Jason D. Dunkel, executive director marketing” (Greene, 9/20).

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