This article published in the New York Times is a very accurate description of the many challenges faced by physicians in small group settings in Canada. It is worth reading. The approach taken by the group is that of using a shared central data repository and accessing the information using the Internet. Read more below and by clicking on the link.
"Electronic records, particularly ones that can be shared online by different doctors and hospitals, can improve the quality and safety of patient care by reducing errors that kill tens of thousands of patients each year. That is why, with considerable cheerleading but only modest financial help from Congress and the Bush administration, big organizations like Kaiser Permanente, the Mayo Clinic and many medical centers across the country are spending billions to convert to electronic records.
And last week, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, government and private health care officials were rushing to build an electronic database of prescription drug records for hundreds of thousands of people who lost their records in the storm. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said the chaos wreaked by Katrina "powerfully demonstrated the need for electronic health records."
"The large groups can afford the software," said Dr. Heslin, a family physician in Saugerties. "For the onesies and twosies, small groups like ours, there is no profit margin."
Now, though, in a collaboration with 500 like-minded doctors, as well as hospitals, insurers and employers in two Hudson Valley counties, Dr. Heslin and his partners are clearing barriers that have made modern information technology inaccessible to the hundreds of thousands of small doctors' offices around the nation.
The Hudson Valley effort is being watched as a potential model by federal and state government and industry officials, who say that up to 60 percent of Americans receive their primary care at small-scale physicians' offices. Unless those small medical practices can adopt the most modern and efficient information technology, millions of Americans may never know the benefits of the most advanced and safest care. Link: Doctors Join to Promote Electronic Record Keeping - New York Times.
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