Experts agree that electronic health records can save lives and money by reducing the costs and harms associated with medical errors and by cutting down on redundant tests and procedures. But a number of unresolved issues, including affordability and privacy concerns, have made hospitals, physicians, and patients slow to adopt them.
Although those hurdles remain, government and nonprofit organizations,
as well as technology giants such as Microsoft and Google, are attempting to drive the technology forward. What is envisioned is an easily accessible electronic system that, by coordinating the storage and retrieval of individuals' health records, increases efficiency, reduces costs,
and promotes standardization of care.