HealthIT News: Fast Access to Records Helps Fight Epidemics

The growing prevalence of electronic medical records has had an unexpected benefit: By combing through the data now received almost continuously from hospitals and other medical facilities, some health departments are spotting and combatting outbreaks with unprecedented speed.

More than one-third of the nation’s 5,000 acute care hospitals now use electronic medical records, and the share of primary care doctors using them has doubled to 40 percent in the last two years, said Dr. Farzad Mostashari, the Obama administration’s national coordinator for health information technology.

“We can identify and monitor trends in high-priority diseases and health problems by geography and groups,” said Dr. Amanda Parsons, a deputy commissioner at the city’s Department od Health and Mental Hygiene. “We can tell where things are improving or getting worse.”

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(Source: New York Times)