One area in particular is worth looking into: Electronic Health Records, also known as EHRs. Only 9 percent of U.S. hospitals currently have EHRs, found a survey by the New England Journal of Medicine. The survey, sent to hospitals in March 2008 and based on responses from 2,900 U.S. hospitals, found most institutions only have basic electronic systems, such as for reporting patients' lab results.
EHRs essentially replace a patient's paper file and may be safer to use, doing things like alerting doctors for drug interactions and the like. Advocates say EHRs also reduce spending from unnecessary testing and help doctors spot trends in their medical practice.
But others argue it won't be an easy transition for the industry to make, citing the "cost and complexity of installing the systems and building data networks required to share information electronically between doctors' offices and hospitals."
Easy or not, EHRs aren't going to happen without more technical folks to put them in place.
-- Sonia Lelii