Electronic health records growing in California

Healthcare experts widely agree that computerised records can help doctors and hospitals avoid medical errors and improve the quality of care. On this score, California appears to be heading in the right direction: Growing numbers of doctors, hospitals and community clinics appear to be giving up their stacks of paper records in favor of technology that serves the same purpose, according to a new report from the California HealthCare Foundation. Nearly half of physician practices have electronic medical records in place, up from 14 percent in 2008. Doctors are increasingly relying on computerised systems to order medications rather than writing prescriptions by hand. Community clinics are embracing the technology with particular gusto: Forty-seven percent said they have implemented an electronic health-record system, up from just 3 percent in 2005. The tools “have the potential to reduce errors and adverse clinical events, and to improve the quality and efficiency of patient care,” the foundation said in its report, “The State of Health Information Technology in California.” But the foundation also found room for improvement.


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