Creating More Efficient Health Care Systems in the United States Has Been a Pressing

Submitted by: Submitted by

Views: 370

Words: 2013

Pages: 9

Category: Business and Industry

Date Submitted: 05/03/2013 04:23 PM

Report This Essay

Creating more efficient health care systems in the United States has been a pressing medical, social, and political issue for decades. Despite the fact that 15 percent of Americans are uninsured and another 20 percent on top of that are underinsured, or unable to pay for necessary health care, the U.S. spends more money per person on health care than any other country in the world. In 2009, the United States spent $2.5 trillion on health care, which was 17.6 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP). Approximately 12 percent of that figure was spent on administrative costs, most of which involve the upkeep of medical records.

The astronomical health care spending figures in the United States are inflated by inefficiency, errors, and fraud. The good news is that information technology may present an opportunity for health care providers to save money and provide better care. Health care providers have begun to create electronic medical record (EMR) systems at the urging of the government in an effort to eliminate much of the inefficiency inherent in paper-based recordkeeping. Many insurance companies are also lending their support to the development of EMR systems.

An electronic medical record system contains all of a person’s vital medical data, including personal information, a full medical history, test results, diagnoses, treatments, prescription medications, and the effect of those treatments. A physician would be able to immediately and directly access needed information from the EMR without having to pore through paper files. If the record holder went to the hospital, the records and results of any tests performed at that point would be immediately available online.

Many experts believe that electronic records will reduce medical errors and improve care, create less paperwork, and provide quicker service, all of which will lead to dramatic savings in the future: an estimated $77.8 billion per year. The government’s short-term goal is for all health care...