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New E-health recommendations from ACP aim to improve health care quality, safety, and access
Date:5/16/2008

May 16, 2008 - Health care may be the fastest growing industry, but it has been slow to adopt the use of technology. While orders at fast food chains are now entirely automated, most physician offices and hospitals still maintain their records on paper.

In a new position paper (http://www.acponline.org/advocacy/where_we_stand/policy/ehealth.pdf) released today by the American College of Physicians (ACP), the nation's largest medical specialty organization says that collaboration among physicians, patients, technology developers, and policymakers must occur if e-health activities like electronic communication between physicians and their patients, remote monitoring of patients, personal and electronic health records, and patients seeking health information online are to transform health care in the U.S.

"E-health activities have great potential to improve the quality of patient care, reduce medical errors, increase efficiency and access to care, and achieve substantial cost savings," says David C. Dale, MD, FACP, president, ACP. "Furthermore, e-health is a critical part of the patient-centered medical home model of care, which in coordination with the other components, is the future of the U.S. health care delivery system."

The paper, "E-Health and Its Impact on Medical Practice," analyzes the benefits, technical and financial challenges, and legal issues related to adopting and implementing e-health activities for physicians and patients.

The challenges for implementing e-health activities effectively, ACP says, lie not only in the adoption of universal technical standards for the exchange of electronic health information, but also in a more fundamental concern of economic support for health information technology.

For physicians, the financial costs of purchasing systems and incorporating e-health offerings can be considerable.

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Contact: Steve Majewski
smajewski@acponline.org
202-249-4026
American College of Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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