Congress holds key to EMR adoption

"When disaster strikes, the country pulls together, making an effort to learn from the tragedy and minimize the impact of future disasters," observe Wayne Owens and Frank Richards in a CNet article. But there's an ongoing tragedy that quietly kills people every day--and many people aren't making the effort to prevent it from happening. Medical mistakes kill between 44,000 and 98,000 people each year--the equivalent, the authors observe, of two 737 jets crashing each day. They believe that electronic medical records (EMRs) are the needed in order to cut down on this unnecessary loss of life. Congress, they say, holds the key to wider EMR adoption by physicians. Several health IT bills have passed through Congress this year, but lawmakers must do more to deal with challenges such as a lack of technological standards, implementation costs and legal hurdles. The longer they wrangle over politics, the harder it will be for physicians to adopt EMRs--and more medical mistakes will be made in the meantime.

For more on Congress's role in EMR adoption:
- check out this CNet article