Health

Why the promise of electronic fitness records has long gone unfulfilled

A decade ago, the U.S. Authorities claimed that ditching paper medical charts for digital facts might make health care better, more secure and less expensive. Ten years and $36 billion later, the virtual revolution has long past awry, an investigation by using Kaiser Health News and Fortune mag has observed. Veteran newshounds Fred Schulte of KHN and Erika Fry of Fortune spent months digging into what has occurred as a result. (You can read the duvet story here.) Here are five takeaways from the investigation. Patient harm: Electronic health information has created some risks to affected person safety. Alarming reports of deaths, serious injuries and near misses — hundreds of them — tied to software glitches, user errors or different machine flaws have piled up for years in government and personal repositories.

No extensive database exists to bring together and observe those incidents to enhance protection. Signs of fraud: Federal officers say the software can be misused to overcharge, a practice known as “upcoding.” And some medical doctors and fitness structures are speculated to have overstated their use of the brand new era, a probably significant fraud in opposition to Medicare and Medicaid possibly to take years to get to the bottom of. Two software program-makers have paid a total of extra than $2 hundred million to settle fraud allegations. Gaps in interoperability: Proponents of digital health information anticipated a unbroken system so sufferers may want to percentage automated medical histories in a flash with doctors and hospitals anywhere in the United States. That has but to materialize, in large part due to the fact officials allowed masses of competing companies to sell medical-information software program not able to exchange statistics among one another. Doctor burnout: Many docs say they spend half of their day or extra clicking pull-down menus and typing in preference to interacting with sufferers. An emergency room doctor can be saddled with making up to four,000 mouse clicks in keeping with the shift. This has fueled issues approximately doctor burnout, which a January report by way of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Massachusetts Medical Society and other businesses known as a “public health crisis.” Web of secrets and techniques: Entrenched guidelines preserve to hold software program disasters out of public view. Vendors of digital fitness data have imposed contractual “gag clauses” that discourage customers from talking out about protection troubles and disastrous software installations — and some hospitals combat to withhold facts from injured sufferers or their families. Kaiser Health News is an editorially impartial information carrier supported through the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. KHN is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

Duane Simpson

Internet fan. Zombie aficionado. Infuriatingly humble problem solver. Alcohol enthusiast. Spent several months exporting UFOs in Jacksonville, FL. A real dynamo when it comes to exporting gravy in Tampa, FL. Spent 2001-2004 implementing saliva in Edison, NJ. Had moderate success getting my feet wet with junk food on Wall Street. Practiced in the art of building Virgin Mary figurines in Tampa, FL. Practiced in the art of marketing Roombas in Phoenix, AZ.

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