Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist doesn't have to just play a doctor on TV. As a physician he's already offered on-site medical care to fallen Capitol guards and tourists while a Senator. Now he's throwing his clout behind the advancement of electronic medical records. In The Washington Times, a newspaper widely read by Republican policy wonks on Capitol Hill, Frist bemoans what might be called his version of Two Americas: "On one hand, American clinical medical technology has moved ahead at an astonishing rate. From multimillion-dollar CT scan machines to cheap digital thermometers, new clinical technology helps doctors get their work done more quickly, make better diagnoses and achieve better results. On the other hand, our systems for managing medical information remain far behind the times. Today's doctors keep records the same way my father did in his medical practice: on paper."
He also worries that the medical industry fails to invest sufficiently in IT, noting "of all major economic sectors, medicine spends the smallest amount on information technology, just about 3 percent of its revenue….This leads to needless, costly testing at best and deadly errors at worst." When the Senate Majority Leader raises an issue, it's probably going to have some impact.
Learn more about Frist's call to action:
- read this editorial in the Washington Times