Health Information Technology: Benefits and Problems

Proponents of health information technology (HIT) often claim that the United States lags behind other developed countries when it comes to the use of electronic medical records (EMRs), physician order entry systems and personal health records in clinics and hospitals. For example, only about 17 percent of doctors and 8 percent to 10 percent of U.S. hospitals use EMRs. Although many proponents discuss the perceived benefits of HIT, missing from the debate is an honest discussion of experiences with actual HIT systems, and the obstacles and pitfalls of poorly designed systems. The ultimate goal should be to improve quality, increase efficiency and add convenience — not just to create wired facilities.

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