Pushing E-Health Records
Brown University medical student Jeremy Boyd displays his personal digital assistant, or PDA, Friday, Feb. 17, 2006, at Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket, R.I. Boyd records patient data in the PDA and can reference drug and diagnostic programs. (AP)

Brown University medical student Jeremy Boyd displays his personal digital assistant, or PDA, Friday, Feb. 17, 2006, at Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket, R.I. (AP)

By 2014, President Obama hopes to digitize the health records of every American. And the federal stimulus bill is funneling $19 billion dollars to do just that.

Proponents say electronic medical records will reduce spending. Cut down on repeat medical tests. Reduce errors. Even save lives.

Critics warn not so fast. What about the huge cost to implement such systems? And what about doctor-patient privacy? Do we really want a universal electronic health record database?

We’ll weigh the pros and cons.

This Hour, On Point: your e-health record.

You can join the conversation. What’s your view on computerizing Americans’ medical records? Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.


Ashish Jha, professor of medicine and associate professor of health policy and management at Harvard University’s School of Public Health and a staff physician at the Boston VA and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals. He co-authored a recent article in “The New England Journal of Medicine” called, “Use of Electronic Health Records in U.S. Hospitals.”

Jennifer Brull, family medicine physician in Plainville, Kansas. Her clinic recently converted to an entirely electronic system of medical records.

Deborah Peel, founder and chairman of the Patient Privacy Rights Foundation. You can see her group’s position here.

More links:

Dr. Jermome Groopman, a highly respected medical thinker and supporter of President Obama, wrote a tough critique in the Wall Street Journal — “Obama’s $80 Billion Exaggeration” — of the new administration’s e-health record effort.

To hear how President Obama wants to cut health care costs — including through the e-health records push — listen to On Point’s show with hospital consultant Mitchell Seltzer, who has the ear of the White House, and Washington Post reporter Ceci Connolly.

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