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Considering Electronic Health Records

By Kelley Weiss

Kansas City, MO – Politicians and physicians across the country are meeting in Missouri to examine the most efficient and effective ways for hospitals to switch to electronic medical records. KCUR's Kelley Weiss reports.

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A series of congressional hearings at Washington University are addressing the challenge of transferring all paper hospital records to an electronic system.

In the latest hearing Dr. James Crane, of Washington University Medical Center, testified on how his hospital was making the change. He says the hospital's top priorities are protecting patient's privacy and not compromising the standard of care. By consolidating all records into one electronic file, Crane says, it will make services more efficient and give health care workers more comprehensive and accessible patient information.

James Crane: "Once these systems are up and running I think there is a return on investment for physicians just as there is for perhaps payers and certainly I think enhances patient care."

The major challenge Crane identified for doctors was the initial costs in making the conversion - for Washington University it will total almost $11 million over a four year period.

Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

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