Experts says every American could have an electronic medical record in the next five years.
February’s stimulus package encourages doctors and hospitals to make the shift to electronic medical records. And this week, industry leaders are in Harrisburg discussing ways to make Pennsylvania a leader in the development of health information technology.
Congress has set aside more than $19 billion dollars to spur widespread use of digital health records. The US also needs a secure network to exchange and transport that information. Some of the stimulus money will be doled out through grants awarded by the national office of Health Information Technology. Mark Stevens leads the Pennsylvania e-Health Initiative.
Stevens: Last year’s budget, I believe for the Office of the National Coordinator was about $160 million, it’s now over two billion, that’s the magnitude that we are looking at here.
Stevens says the Harrisburg summit will help doctors and hospitals get their share of the new health technology dollars.
Supporters say digitized medical records improve patient care by reducing errors. And a nationwide network of that information could help public officials detect and track disease outbreak, like the H1N1 virus, in its earliest stages.