Sharing Patient Information is Still A Major Dilemma for Physicians


Despite advances in healthcare with electronic medical records, the industry still relies heavily on paper and fax machines. Since 2009, taxpayers have funded almost $30 billion applied to the installation of electronic records systems. Nonetheless, these systems are unable to communicate with each other.

Before EHR systems, there has actually been the opposite of an incentive for doctors to share patient information. If a doctor did not have information on a patient's record immediately available, he or she would order a test that may have been previously ran and bill for that test. Preventing EHR systems from communicating, also prevents patients from taking their records and business to a competing doctor.

Dr. Karen DeSalvo, the government's health IT coordinator, stated, "We should be working off of the same set of standards." In order to encourage the coordination of health systems, programs like Medicare are starting to increase pay to doctors and hospitals that work together to avoid duplicative tests, meanwhile penalizing those who do not coordinate.

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