Electronic record systems can make health care more efficient and less expensive, but their potential for mistakes and confusion can be frustrating, costly and even dangerous.
The government has given $6.5 billion in incentives, and hospitals and doctors have spent billions more. “The current information tools are still difficult to set up. They are hard to use. They fit only parts of what doctors do, and not the rest.” Mayo Clinic, which treats more than a million patients a year, has serious unresolved problems after working for years to get its three major electronic records systems to talk to one another.