Government Studies How to Push Digital Health Records

At a hearing of a federal committee charged with improving health care through IT, experts laid out the promise and perils of establishing digital health records that patients could access electronically.

An important preliminary barrier is convincing patients that such records can help them and not be used against them.

Many health payers and employers have started programs that create patient-based electronic health records for covered patients based on data that insurance companies collect when processing bills from doctors.

That could make patients uncomfortable with the concept of PHRs (patient health records), said Paul Tang, chief medical information officer at the Palo Alto Health Foundation.

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