The promise of health information technology (HIT) is comprehensive electronic patient records when and where needed, leading to improved quality of care at reduced cost. However, physician experience and other available evidence suggest that this promise is largely unfulfilled.
Comprehensive records require more than having every physician and hospital use an electronic health record (EHR) system. There must also be an effective, efficient, and trustworthy mechanism for health information exchange (HIE) to aggregate each patient's scattered records into a complete whole when needed. This mechanism must also be accurate and reliable, protect patient privacy, and ensure that medical record access is transparent and accountable to patients.
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