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Electronic Health Records: What’s in it for Everyone?

Grand Rounds May 2011

Electronic health records (EHRs) allow for the systematic collection and management of patient health information in a form that can be shared across multiple health care settings. By providing easier access to patients’ medical records, EHRs can help improve healthcare quality, efficiency and safety. These systems can also promote use of preventive services, improve public health surveillance, and support research to improve population health. But despite these advantages, the expense of system implementation has slowed EHR adoption rates. With U.S. health care expenditures exceeding $2.5 trillion yearly (17% of our GDP), such investments must provide cost-effective support for better health at the individual and population levels.

Fortunately, there is substantial evidence to show that while initial costs remain a concern, converting from paper records to EHR systems will ultimately reduce health care expenses across the board. Research indicates that Medicare and private payers would receive tens of billions of dollars in cost savings each year. To further encourage EHR adoption, the federal government has introduced a plan to provide $44.7 billion during 2010-2019 for an EHR incentive program to supplement the implementation process for many health care providers.

This session of Public Health Grand Rounds explored the issues of EHR implementation with particular attention to public and population health while addressing concerns of cost, patient confidentiality, and other challenges.

Presented By

Seth Foldy, MD, MPH, FAAFP
Director, Public Health Informatics & Technology Program Office,
Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology and Laboratory Services, CDC
Presentation – Electronic Health Records: A Transformative Change for Public Health

Robert Lamberts, MD
Evans Medical Group, Evans, GA
(2003 HIMSS Award for excellence in use of computers in primary care)
Presentation – Electronic Health Records: The View from the Trenches

Jac J. Davies, MS, MPH
Director, Beacon Community of the Inland Northwest Health Services
Spokane, WA
Presentation – Health Information Exchanges at a Multi-Facility Health Care Company

Amy Zimmerman, MPH
State Health Information Technology Coordinator,
Health & Human Services, Rhode Island
Presentation – Electronic Health Records: A State Health Department Perspective

Farzad Mostashari, MD, SCM
Director, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology,
Health and Human Services, Washington, DC
Presentation – Health IT and Public Health: Opportunities, Realities, and a Proposed Approach

Facilitated By

Tanja Popovic, M.D., Ph.D., Scientific Director, Public Health Grand Rounds
Shane Joiner, Communication Manager, Public Health Grand Rounds

  • Page last reviewed: July 26, 2011
  • Page last updated: July 26, 2011
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