Doctors, Hospitals Lag On EMR But Use Props – New And Old – To Close Gap
Electronic medical records could improve how care is delivered and financed, but too few doctors and hospitals use it now, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told attendees at the Cerner Health Conference in Kansas City Tuesday, the Kansas City Star reports. Only 10 percent of hospitals and 20 percent of physicians' offices use the technology. "We have a very long way to go in a very short time," she said (Bavley, 10/6).
Doctors making that shift, however, may have back-up at some facilities, USA Today reports. At University of Virginia Medical Center, "scribes trail doctors from bed to bed, taking detailed notes that will form part of each patient's electronic medical record. Experts say the scribes' peculiar role - with one foot in 2009 and one in 2000 B.C. - illustrates hospitals' often bumpy transition from clipboards and closets of paper charts to digital records" (Szabo, 10/6).
Meanwhile, technology companies are leaping ahead with new medical products, even as many providers stick to paper. For instance, "[t]he medical waistband is the latest front in the battle among smart-phone makers for the business customer," the Wall Street Journal reports. At Stanford Hospital & Clinics, in Palo Alto, Calif., Apple and Epic Systems, an electronic medical records vendor, are testing iPhone applications that allow doctors to view patient's records and vital signs from anywhere. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is furnishing its staff with BlackBerry phones (Sheth and Kane, 10/7).