HHS Strategic Plan, Fiscal Years 2007–2012 (Strategic Plan). Electronic Health Records

11/22/2015

Patients cannot receive appropriate and efficient care unless clinical information about them is available at the point of care. When patients’ health information is not accessible to providers as they transition through the continuum of care, clinical decisions often must be made without full knowledge of patients’ history and health status. The absence of needed clinical information can lead to a requirement to duplicate tests that not only increase the costs of health care, but also subject patients to unneeded clinical interventions that always carry a degree of risk. Similarly, the absence of needed information could lead to incorrect decisions or medical errors that could result in adverse clinical outcomes. Over time, more advanced electronic health records will have integrated clinical decision support with the latest scientific evidence guiding clinical interventions at the point of care along with environmental data that should also influence many treatment decisions. Increasing the adoption of interoperable electronic health records will decrease these risks to both the efficiency and efficacy of care. Through the collaborative activities of the American Health Information Community, chaired by the Secretary of HHS, much work is underway to identify the functionality and standards that will support the development and adoption of interoperable electronic health records to achieve the President’s vision of making electronic health records available to most Americans by 2014.

More information about this effort can be found later in this chapter in In the Spotlight: Advancing the Development and Use of Health Information Technology.

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