IN THESE PAGES
12 Water, Water Everywhere
14 The Fiesta Is Officially Over
16 In Charge
WHILE THE REST of the world went
wired, much of the healthcare industry
obstinately clung to paper-based systems
to manage its loads of patient data. That
era seems to be finally coming to an end
as governments and hospitals look to
improve the quality of care—and their
financial prognosis. Yet even as more
and more projects to introduce electronic
medical records are launched, healthcare
IT seems to be ailing.
In the United States, President
Barack Obama signed legislation calling
for electronic health records for every
citizen by 2014. The bill set aside $20 billion in stimulus money for the projects.
Under the plan, physicians who show
they’re “meaningfully” using healthcare
IT would be eligible for $40,000 to
$65,000, and hospitals could get up to
several million dollars. The incentives
would be phased out over time, with
penalties kicking in by 2015.
But computers are far from a cure-all.
Many of those hospitals that took
the paperless plunge have found ROI is
stymied by both technical and cultural
“Depressingly, outside the world
of the carefully controlled trial,
between 50 percent and 80 percent
of electronic health record projects
fail—and the larger the project, the
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