Sen. Hillary Clinton Proposes National Electronic Medical Records System
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) on Monday announced a five-point health care proposal that would establish a national electronic medical records system and use other medical technologies to improve the quality of care in the United States, the New York Daily News reports. Under the proposal, which Clinton announced in an address to about 100 medical professionals at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, the federal government would establish standards for medical records and an electronic system that would allow providers to access and share the records (Rose, New York Daily News, 1/13). Patients also could access laboratory results online, record blood sugar levels in their medical records, receive electronic messages to remind them when to take medications and increase e-mail communication with providers (AP/Long Island Newsday, 1/13). In addition, the proposal would establish a national rating system to allow patients to compare the quality of physicians, hospitals and nursing homes (New York Daily News, 1/13). The proposal also would require increased federal research on whether hand-held computers and electronic medical records could improve quality of care. Clinton said that the proposal could reduce U.S. health care costs by "tens to hundreds of billions of dollars" each year (Machacek, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 1/13). Some hospitals, pharmacies and physician offices currently use electronic medical record systems, but most are "specific to one hospital or pharmacy, which doesn't allow for easily sharing the information," according to the AP/Newsday. Clinton said that the proposal would provide infrastructure and medical privacy standards to allow providers to share medical records (AP/Long Island Newsday, 1/13). "It's time we use the power of the information age to improve health care," Clinton said (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 1/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.