Several recent studies have shown the vast majority of doctors in the U.S. have not adopted the standardized use of Electronic Health Records. Dr. Angel Garcia, CEO of EHR solutions provider Global Medical Consultants, believes it’s one of the driving forces behind rising healthcare costs. He addresses this problem in his book “Do No Harm: Saving Our Health Care System“.
Early estimates from the 2010 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS), conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, showed the percentage of physicians with EHRs that met the criteria of a basic EHR system by state ranged from 12.5 to 51.5 %. However, if you exclude the 27 states with unreliable estimates, the percentage of physicians having fully functional systems that met the criteria ranged from only 9.7 to 27.2%.
“Tracking medical problems can prevent complications of chronic illnesses such as heart attacks, strokes and can increase the overall quality of care,” said Dr. Garcia. “Moreover, the cost savings of having widespread adoption of EHR in the U.S. healthcare industry would reduce healthcare costs by more than 30 percent per year — a savings of more than $720 billion per year. That’s more than enough savings to insure all 47 million Americans currently without health insurance.”Newly released data suggests almost one-third of physicians now own an iPad. Also, according to a report by the “American Medical News” in April 2011, nearly 33 percent of all doctors indicate they own the new technology. Another report from the market research firm Knowledge Networks stated that 27 percent of primary care and specialty physicians own an iPad or similar device, five times the rate of the general population.
What’s unclear to Dr. Garcia is the role the technology has in their practice. “Some doctors surf the web and download movies or music on a device that could help save the industry that is in crisis. It’s time for the healthcare industry to catch up to other industries and adopt an electronic solution, not just record-keeping but more importantly, clinical tracking of medical problems that will make patients safer and healthcare affordable.”