The Promise of Electronic Health Records

John Halamka | Government Health IT | December 5, 2011

Last week, Don Berwick completed his 17 month tenure as administrator of Medicare and Medicaid. The nation should be grateful that such a visionary was at the helm. The nation should be frustrated that he was never confirmed.

In his parting interview with the press, he noted that 20 percent to 30 percent of health spending is “waste” that yields no benefit to patients. Berwick listed five reasons for the enormous waste in health spending:

  • Patients are overtreated
  • There is not enough coordination of care
  • US health care is burdened with an excessively complex administrative system
  • The enormous burden of rules
  • Fraud

Certainly regulatory reform is needed, but electronic health records can go far to addressing each of these issues...