Ashish Jha on Digitization of Health Records in the US

Ashish Jha, Assistant Professor of Health Policy & Management at the Harvard School of Public Health and practicing physician at the VA, discussed the digitization of health records on NPR’s OnPoint on Wednesday, April 22. You can hear the entire episode here at OnPoint Radio’s site: http://www.onpointradio.org/2009/04/tracking-electronic-medical-records. My favorite quote, in response to why automate a broken system rather than fix the fundamental problem:

“We can’t fix the healthcare system without IT, but IT alone can’t fix it.”

Dr. Ashish Jha also recently published an excellent article entitled Use of Electronic Health Records in U.S. Hospitals in the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Jha and colleagues found that only 1.5% of hospitals have comprehensive electronic medical record (EMR) systems and an additional 7.6% have basic EMR systems. Hospitals cited capital costs and high maintenance costs as primary obstacles to adoption. President Obama’s plan for every American to have an electronic health record by 2014 appears even more ambitious in light of these numbers.

Dr. Ashish Jha will be speaking at the Public Health & Technology Conference on Friday, May 1 at the Harvard School of Public Health. Details of the conference and free registration are available here: www.hsph.harvard.edu/phat.

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