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 Hospitals' Electronic Wasteland

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Date posted: 26/03/2009

Less than 2 percent of U.S. hospitals today use comprehensive electronic health records, according to a new survey of 3,000 hospitals that highlights just how far the health-care system has to go. Without DICOM or PACS data standards in place, many if not most AR and VR health technologies simply will not work, or will be severely underutilised.

According to the findings, published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, about 8 percent of U.S. hospitals use basic EHR systems--which include patient demographics, medical complaints, medications, and some test results--in at least one department. Only about a quarter of those are using comprehensive EHR systems, including so-called decision support systems, which assist physicians and other health-care providers in making treatment decisions, for example, reminding them to prescribe pre-operative antibiotics.

"If the goal of [electronic record] adoption is to improve quality of care, then this kind of decision support can help clinicians provide the right care more often," said Cait DesRoches, a public health expert at the Institute for Health Policy at MGH and one of the authors of the study.

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