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Digital medical records push exposes potential side effects

Boston Globe, May 11, 2009

Backers of the push for electronic medical records such technology will cut costs and save lives. But a growing body of research illustrates the potential challenges such as getting doctors to use the safety-enhancing features the systems offer and the patchwork of privacy regulations in different states. A study on electronic medical record adoption by researchers at Harvard Medical School surveyed Massachusetts doctors in 2005 and 2007. Over that time, the study found, electronic medical record adoption jumped to 35% of practices, from 23%. But it also found that over the same time, there was little change in the use of many of the system features thought to increase the safety and efficiency of medicine.