Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Electronic Health Records: Are the Regulations Missing the Point?

The big advantage I've always seen to electronic records is the ease with which information can be pulled up, searched, and shared. This requires a standardized format, which seems to be missing in this article. You're only getting part of the benefit if you require the medical profession to use them, the big piece is making sure they can share them. I didn't see that mentioned in the article, it may be the reporting but I suspect it's our aversion to dictating standards. This is silly, one of the things the free market doesn't do terribly well is decide on standards without some form of arbitration. Sometimes industry does this on its own, particularly tech companies, but you still sometimes see something like the VHS vs Beta nonsense in the absence of direction. In this case, pretty straightforward information is under discussion, I see very little room for actual innovation. It's a clear case where the problem is the need for standardization, which the state does well, not innovation, which the private sector does well. Why does this distinction often seem invisible to people?

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