Call to slow down EMR development for better security.

HIT Consultant Blog: “The law [HITECH, the law gives incentives to healthcare organizations to digitize personal health information before 2020], which also updates parts of HIPAA, gives the Secretary of Health and Human Services until mid-August to define what constitutes an electronic medical record. In Schmidt’s view initial requirements should start with strong authentication and encryption, and so far, the Secretary has done just that. Citing existing NIST and FIPS standards, HHS guidance includes healthcare data at rest, data in motion, as well as the proper destruction of Protected Health Information. Unfortunately, some health practitioners have begun purchasing e-health systems before the full complement of standards is known.” – No matter how you slice it, security is always going to be a problem. Even now, security is a primary concern for any healthcare facility in the United States. As you expand outside the walls of your existing system it is only going to get worse. I agree that practitioners should slow down and wait until some of this gets worked out. There’s nothing worse than investing in a system that has to be scrapped secondary to jumping the gun.

EMRs as a tool for patient safety.

A short jaunt over to the EMR and HIPPA weblog led me to an interesting article in Time written by Scott Haig, MD. While Dr. Haig touches on a couple of positive features of electronic medical records (EMRs), he like many physicians, focuses on the negatives. He concludes that “Doctors and patients live in a world of painful, pressing questions. The great physicians I’ve known seek answers through personal commitment to each patient and judgment born of practical experience — neither of which I have found in a machine.” I think he is missing the point of an EMR.
Continue reading EMRs as a tool for patient safety.

Digital Medicine Article in Business Week

A Business Week article this week took a look at the current state of electronic medical records (EMRs) and technology in healthcare. The author managed to deliver a mixed message without clearly differentiating between electronic medical records and patient safety issues. The article clearly focuses on the negative.
Continue reading Digital Medicine Article in Business Week