A Robust Health Data Infrastructure

May 12, 2014

A Robust Health Data Infrastructure (PDF)
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

The two overarching goals of moving to the electronic exchange of health information are improved health care and lower health care costs. Whether either, or both, of these goals can be achieved remains to be seen, and the challenges are immense. Health care is one of the largest segments of the US economy, approaching 20% of GDP. Despite the obvious technological aspects of modern medicine, it is one of the last major segments of the economy to become widely accepting of digital information technology, for a variety of practical and cultural reasons. That said, the adoption of electronic records in medicine has been embraced, particularly by health care administrators in the private sector and by the leaders of agencies of the federal and state governments with responsibility for health care. Although the transition to electronic records now seems a foregone conclusion, it is beset by many challenges, and the form and speed of that transition is uncertain. Furthermore, there are questions about whether that transition will actually improve the quality of life, in either a medical or economic sense.

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