Obama Pledges Electronic Medical Records for Everyone Within Five Years

President-elect Obama said that making medical records electronic will save billions of dollars and thousands of jobs, as well as save lives by reducing deadly and preventable medical errors.

Jan 20, 2009

In a speech on January 8, 2009, President-Elect Barack Obama pledged to make all medical records electronic within five years.

Obama said that making records electronic will improve the quality of our health care and lower costs. "This will cut waste, eliminate red tape, and reduce the need to repeat expensive medical tests," he said in his speech. "But it won't just save billions of dollars and thousands of jobs. It will save lives by reducing the deadly but preventable medical errors that pervade our healthcare system."

Obama did not spell out how much support the federal government would give to help providers automate medical records. During the presidential campaign, however, he pledged to commit $50 billion over five years to support adoption of standards-based information systems and the national health information network.

What do you think about electronic health records? Sound like a good plan to you? Post a comment below and let us know what you think.

Source: Health Data Management

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Posted by Anonymous on 21 January 2009

Eli Lilly Zyprexa claims being stonewalled Where is the $1.42 billion Eli Lily Zyprexa settlement going as many victim claimants haven't been paid yet? It's the largest pharma-fraud-whistleblower case in US history. Eli Lilly, the Indy-based pharmaceutical company pleads guilty to promoting Zyprexa for unapproved uses and is slapped with $1.4 billion criminal fine, the largest ever placed on a U.S. company. Eli Lilly promotes sales of their #1 drug (Zyprexa $4.8 billion per year) that can *cause* diabetes and then turns around and makes billions selling more drugs to treat the diabetes. Eli Lilly's # 1 cash cow Zyprexa has been over-prescribed and linked to a 10-times greater risk of causing type #2 diabetes and increased risk of heart attack. "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi I believe that I am the world's most vigorous Zyprexa claimant having posted more than 68,000 web pages. It ain't over. I will be costing Lilly lots more $$$. They have three certified letters from me substantiating my claim. I am a classic case for compensation having taken the stuff for four years (for off-label PTSD). I paid thousands of dollars out of my own pocket in co-payments for the Zyprexa which gave me sudden onset diabetes in 2000 with a deadly A1C of 14.2 all documented at my site. Eli Lilly has up to 250 lawyers just on their payroll in Indy; they have NEVER contacted me except in 2005 to get a release of my medical records. My doctor says, (get this) they never contacted him to verify the information. There must be millions out there harmed by this drug. Daniel Haszard

Posted by Anonymous on 26 January 2009

The reality is that electronic health records are being forced upon Americans, in spite of little solid evidence that they will do anything to reduce costs or reduce errors. Most estimates, including a recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, suggest that electronic medical records will actually lead to more wasteful healthcare spending, at least initially. In addition, as people in New York City have already found out the hard way, their data is being seized without disclosure, and in February 2007, the U.S. GAO released its report which showed that overall, the U.S. Department of HHS was only in very preliminary stages of protecting patient privacy, and had not yet defined an overall approach for integrating its various privacy-related initiatives or for addressing key privacy principles, nor had it defined milestones for integrating the results of these activities. All I can say is that in the 2 years that have since passed, little (if any progress) has been made towards addressing those key issues!!

Posted by Anonymous on 26 January 2009

Give me a break. You know I think when President Obama says all these great things about electronic medical data within 5 years? I think about hackers getting into that data much more easily. I think about a national database that can be used for ill gain. I think about fraud and anti-privacy. Who's he kidding. Politicians -- who needs them!

Posted by Jerry1423 on 26 January 2009

No thank you Mr, President. We don't need to be spending government money to fix something that is not broken. I also do not like the potential of my information getting out. Let's focus on the economy first, and the Mideast, and many other things. We can worry about little nonsense like this when everything else is perfect.

Posted by Anonymous on 26 January 2009

Besides the fact that MANY hospitals and clinics have switched already on their own and many more already have it in their future budgets.

Posted by grosscoeur@verizon.net on 26 January 2009

If the Truth is the "cash Value" of the idea; are journalists perfidious con-artists.

Posted by Anonymous on 26 January 2009

I work in the Records department of a medical facility. Electronic records would be most efficient for all as far as accuracy and clarification but it is a very expensive process to convert to from written records. I don't believe the government should back this plan up fiscally with so many items being much more important. Rather, let it be a business decision for each medical center.

Posted by Anonymous on 26 January 2009

Medical records is not the job of the President. Let the private sector do it. It might take longer but will be done right. The Government should just get out of the way so the private sector can do it. If the Government does it it will take us one step closer to socialized medicine. It's not their business. A lot of medical records are maintained on microfilm since it has a proven long life that is not technology dependent. It's not subject to crashes or viruses and need not be migrated. The film can be scanned whenever a digital copy is needed. It needs no power to be maintained and does not need refreshing. The life of the film outlasts the life of patient. We don't know the life of electronic records since they have not been around that long. Electronic records can be easily changed. Microfilm is not easily changed. Changes to film are fairly obvious.

Posted by Anonymous on 26 January 2009

I am not so sure about this electronic records deal....How secure is it? Who will be able to access this info, legally...What has happened to our right of privacy...O'bama needs to slow down and get things right.....I've seen way too many screw ups and try agains in my lifetime..

Posted by Anonymous on 27 January 2009

I am so excited to have electronic medical records! I think it's a great idea, but it does need to be approached carefully, with consumer's privacy in mind, and the cost factored in as well.

Posted by TomWatts on 27 January 2009

In a perfect world the electronic medical records sounds great. In our world I would not touch it with a ten foot pole.

1. If you trust our government why don't you talk to the Indians. Better yet take a look at our governments track record. It lies to us, cheats us, and steals from us. Why would I want them to have more information about me than they already have.

2. What do you think will happen when they get universal health care? The government run health care system will check the database see that it is going to cost more than they think you are worth to treat you. No treatment! Think not. Check out the government run health care systems around the world. It is already happening.

3. Insurance companies will gain access to your medical records and either raise you rates to an astronomical amount or deny it altogether.

4. All of our medical and personal information will be vulnerable to hacking. If the hackers can shut down our military systems they can surely get into this system.

My vote is a resounding NO!

Posted by Anonymous on 27 January 2009

From a health care provider and a patient's view point, I think electronic medical records are a good thing. Yes, there is potential for 'hackers' but now there is the potential for anyone who has access to a file room to view your records and make copies. Does it happen?

Any quality electronic medical record has access restricted to 'need to know' and has multiple layers of security. The receptionist has access to demographic information, but not test results; the doctor has access to the entire chart, the lab has access to only lab results, etc. Every time a record is accessed it is automatically documented who accessed and what part of the record is accessed.

I have seen the frustration of providers who cannot locate a 'paper' test result and the delay in treatment it can cause. I have helped patients wade through the maze to try to obtain copies of their own records from other states and seen them wait 4-5 weeks for things to be copied and shippped, often after the patient pays a fee.

I have also seen 2-3 providers huddled over a hand written order or prescription or summary trying to decifer what is said.

I have seen patients in critical situations not have any idea what medicals they take or know all their health care problems. This places them at risk for inappropriate treatment based on lack of accurate information available to the health care provider.

As health care providers become less available in rural areas, the ability to transmit CT scans, MRIs, etc. to large facilities for quick intrepretation by experts is going to become invaluable. It is already being done.

I think the benefits of eletronic medical records far out weigh any cons.

Posted by Anonymous on 27 January 2009

With everything else that needs to be taken care of in our current economic position, the last thing we should be considering is having everyone convert to EMRs. The cost is ridiculous, both to the individual physician and the government. One needs to find a fix for how our insurance companies are currently ruining medicine by giving huge sums of money to their top executives, while nickel and diming patients and physicians.

Posted by Anonymous on 27 January 2009

I am a RN and Certified Diabetes Educator. I have worked in companies with electronic medical records. They are not all that great. Some benefits but not a cure all for effective health care. I agree with other comments that even if it is supposedly "secure" how can this be assured? Nothing is absolutely hack proof. Also when the systems go down, the records are unavailable. And finally, I do not want the govt to handle my records. They already give authority to pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies to have access to our records. This is an abuse of my rights to privacy. In the past, someone somewhere connected my name with a diagnosis of asthma. I received solicitations from a pharmaceutical company which manufactured asthma meds. When I called I was told that I must have gone to ER and been diagnosed with asthma. (Not true. Never been to ER.) So they couldn't answer why my name got connected to this data base. This type of problem with only worsen with total electronic records. Thank you.

Posted by Anonymous on 27 January 2009

MY VOTE IS "NO". Who knows who would get your records, forget it....

Gilbert, AZ

Posted by Anonymous on 27 January 2009

I have no problem with electronic health care records, I just do not want the government involved in the process. The only reason I can see for them to be involved is they want to socialize medicine and this is a first step.

I would like to be able to take possession of my records and have them for the various doctors I may see through out my life, but I do not want any government agency "taking care" of them.

Mr. Obama, keep your hands off my medical care!

Posted by mmogara on 27 January 2009

Why can't we spend money on PREVENTION of disease or help with chronic disease such as diabetes. Many of my patient's can't afford insulin or strips. What will the electronic record do to help those without insurance, without assess to care?

Posted by anitaost on 27 January 2009

Iam totel agree with mmagara 27Januar 2009 commets

Posted by Anonymous on 27 January 2009

EMR is not the problem to solve healthcare. That's what managed care was supposed to do and we have the biggest mess ever with no continuity of doctors, care, medication, or tests. If you think govermnemt envolment For the EMR is good for healthcare...it is not. Never will be.
I have woked in the medical field for years, and I have seen it all.
What happens when the ligths go out and you're disconnected....there goes confusion. I could write a book.

Posted by Anonymous on 27 January 2009

First and foremost, I would think that President Obama has more pressing issues than the conversion of healthcare records to an electronic form. IF this does come to pass, it should be up to the patient as to whether or not we want our medical records in an electronic format-and if they are, I want the one and only disk with all the info on it! I see it as the only way to safeguard my personal information, and control who gets it and for what reason. As of right now, I think it is far to dangerous an undertaking.

Posted by Anonymous on 27 January 2009

Great. Here we go again. Let's see... HIPAA really improved the health care experience, didn't it? Now we're being being promised even more bureaucracy to "improve things". Good pork for a lot of government prime vendors, and others who make their living on gov't grants, of course. Yikes.

- d. arndt

Posted by Anonymous on 27 January 2009

do you really know how much time and stress that an electronic medical record can save you? let me give you an example---my family physician is leaving our local hospital and i am trying to get my record from all my doctors. i have diabetes and probably multiple sceloris. therefore i have 5 doctors and it does not seem anyone knows how to talk to get things worked out. in the last year i have had elevated white blood counts since sept 2008 i have seen and onocology for lukemia i have had an er visit and seen my family doc every 3 mos. and still no where. now that i am relocating i have been in contact with my doctors requesting releases to get record sent to new doctor. they are telling me i need to go to that location and sign the release before they can do that. some of these doctors are 60 miles away one way. to top it all off they all want $35.00 per doctor to release them to the new doc and they are all based in the same hospital. they are all specialists onocology, neurological and endocrinology. this is very fraustrating and expensive plus a hassel. they are my records and if i want a copy i should be able to have a copy without paying extra for them or waiting for an hour after i sign the release for them. even though i called and asked for a copy they would not do it until i was physically there to sign the paper. thats crap!!!!!! total cost of getting my record for my new doctor is roughly $250.00. Do you have that kind of money or time???????

Posted by Anonymous on 28 January 2009

I work in a facility that uses EHR and I have to say that it is wonderful! (not just for us health care providers, but also for patients). Care is continuous and patients spend less on extra tests which is financially wasteful. Let Obama's work on this, it'll be a positive move for health care. I don't think you should pass comments on the EHR unless you have used it!

Posted by Jerry1423 on 28 January 2009

A few more comments on this stupid idea:
$50 billion, now that is a lot of money ...
I saw a couple "Pros" followed by my (cons)
1.) Do you know how much stress this save? (It will make more stress than it will save ... It is not up to the government to relieve stress)
2.) I work in a facility that uses EHR and I have to say that it is wonderful! (most places have EHR but to give this type of info to the government is an invation of privacy ... no question the info will leak out)

Don't foget this is $50 billion dollars. That money can feed and house a lot of people, and provide education for even more.

As far as I am concerned the most scary part of this is the foundation for socialized medicene. Even though I have been type 1 diabetic for 33 years, and this looks great on the surface for me, there is no way I want the government to have any part of my health decisions.

You don't get something for nothing, and many things will be given up for this insane idea.

Posted by Anonymous on 28 January 2009

For good or bad, everyone is already in a database. If you have a credit card, mortgage, bank account, bought something online or by mail order, you are already in the database with an astonishing amount of detail.

The important issue with medical records is that a law must be passed that prohibits insurers from denying coverage because of any pre-existing condition.

To be realistic, this is coming. Let's concentrate on making sure it is done well with reasonable, conservative oversight from the public and private sectors.

Posted by Anonymous on 28 January 2009

Screw Obama and his thinking anyone but me and my Dr. gets access to my personal and private medical information. The government has no right in my private business. You guys are FOOLS if you don't stand up to our PERSONAL FREEDOM being taken by us. Don't let Obama's pretty "I'm a good guy" mask fool you, chances are pretty high he's just another goon stuffing the new world order down our throats. No option to opt out of electronic medical records? Is this Nazi Germany Obama?

Posted by Anonymous on 30 January 2009

My records are no ones business but mine and my doctors business...Stay the hell out of my business....I don't have any say so in gov't affairs, so leave me and mine alone....

Posted by Anonymous on 31 January 2009

This is the worst can you tell your Doctors to not send information under the privacy act??? The government is the last black hole I want any of my records to go to.

Posted by Anonymous on 12 February 2009

Having electronic medical records means to me!! Catching those medical errors humans make daily!! The government has no part when it comes to your privacy!! Please keep in mind the laws that protect us, like HIPAA!!! I'm yah for this bill, when it gets introduced! Having electronic records will catch those drug interactions at the drug store or If I see a new doctor, his staff shouldn't have to call here and there to get simple blood reports and dictation notes, etc. I'm yah, but government STAY OUT OF MY MEDICAL BUSINESS!!!!!

Posted by Anonymous on 13 February 2009

What are you people talking about? Nowhere does it say the gov't will EVER see your medical records, nor will there be a centralized database. Please read the article before you sound off against something that isn't even in there. Most gov't agencies won't WANT to see it because it places such a huge burden on them (security, privacy, need-to-know, FOIA, etc.).

Posted by Anonymous on 23 February 2009

i also work in the medical field and i applaud president obama for advocating electronic medical records for all. it will be a huge time-saver, as well as very helpful to patient who need access to their records from various sources.

Posted by Anonymous on 5 March 2009

I've been a medical transcriptionist for over 17 years. I was looking forward to retiring in a few years. In my opinion, the EMR will do much to put more Americans out of work. That will be the icing on the cake, after having our wages cut by thousands of dollars a year as hospitals looked to cut costs. A good place to start is with the overpaid doctors, not the MT making $8/hour.

Posted by Anonymous on 6 December 2009

Setting up EMR for a solo pratitioner or small group is very expensive. I am out of a job because my physician employer had to close his practice and file bankruptcy due to getting caught between software upgrades and EMR companies either going out of business or "restructuring" or being bought out by a competetor. If a hospital sponsors the EMR, the physician pays for membership, but loses his records when he relocates. If the physician buys his own, there may not be technical support in a new location or for the company in time. Doctors did fine with chart for a hundred years in the US. The problem was that patients did not take responsibility to keep copies of their records. With EMR, the only financial advantage is that research, pharmaceutical, and insurance companies have access to a data base, much like credit card companies sell their data for mining. No where have I found that the chronic disease model will be enhanced by EMR. Medical teamwork and patient education is the answer. Put the money in interdisciniplenary education and marketing. Then patients won't have a reason for an EMR, because they will be well. Of course, that may be the cause of the whole issue, $$$$. Well people do not buy medical products or services.

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