Over the last years, while interviewing state Medicaid directors and local health officials, we’ve heard that the use of electronic health records has the potential to be a great cost saver for governments. They let doctors from different departments or different hospitals easily work together with the same records with far less costly human intervention. Though there's a lot of potential here, the vision for what can be ultimately accomplished falls short in the implementation.
We’ve heard many doctors -- both journalistic sources and personal contacts -- complain about the negative effects of this technology. Among the issues most obvious to patients are delays from frozen screens and missing digital records. During our own experience with doctors at New York City hospitals, health-care providers told us repeatedly to carry our own medical records in old-fashioned manila folders in case the digital transfer didn’t materialize. When hospitals merge, the problems just get worse.