Federal Health Officials want to Improve Digital Health Records

To make digital health records easily accessible to consumers and regulators, a deal has been announced by federal health officials. It emphasizes on ensuring safety of data. Other infinitives are to stop practice of information blocking, adopting universal language and improving the system that enables patients to keep record of their health status.

There are 16 large hospitals along with companies providing digital health records to achieve what is proposed by the deal. "It’s great to have an electronic record, but if that record can’t be easily accessed by doctors and patients because of clunky technology, then we aren’t consistently seeing the benefit," said Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell. According to Burwell, the problem is that electronic health records (EHRs) are usually blocked.

A study found that there is between 17% and 30% lower possibility of safety problems while using EHRs for recording entire treatments for cardiovascular, surgery and pneumonia patients. The study was funded by HHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Safety problems caused or worsened by EHRs are reported to the Food and Drug Administration by some companies, while some prevent the problem from being released. The business practices should be more transparent to figure out what went wrong. They should also learn from past mistakes.

There are around 75% of doctors and nearly every hospital use EHRs, but there is need for everyone to take its advantage. The need for such system can be realized only if there will be seamless flow of data. Though there are few safety issues, these digital records could be very promising, according to federal officials.