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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Sharing of Information will Accelerate Adoption of Electronic Health Records

Click to listen to the taped broadcast.

I’m Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

There has been a lot of talk in the news of EHRs, PHRs, and EMRs. All of those add up to one thing — electronic health records. As more health systems, insurers and individuals develop their electronic health records, it is becoming essential for these systems to have the ability to exchange information.

A 2003 study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that about one-fifth of patients with chronic diseases report receiving duplicate tests from different physicians. One reason is that medical records and test results are not readily available when needed. Duplicate tests and delays in getting medical records increase the cost of health care.

In his 2004 State of the Union address, President Bush called for the nation to eliminate paper medical records within a decade. He predicted that such a change would improve medical care while cutting significant expense from the nation's spiraling health care bill.

For the United States to realize the cost-savings envisioned by proponents of electronic health records, it is vital that all touchpoints be able to share information. Physicians, clinics and hospitals must make it easier for individuals to access their medical records to share with other providers of care.

Electronic records will require a change in the way our industry has worked in the past. Ultimately, it is a change for the better.

For Texas Health Resources and its faith-based hospitals – Harris Methodist, Presbyterian and Arlington Memorial – I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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