A new report by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies
says that health care organizations should adopt technology to collect health
information on patients and share it through a national network. The new directive
is part of an effort to reduce the tens of thousands of deaths and injuries
that occur each year as a result of medical errors.
The report's authors hope that electronic records provided in a standardized
form will allow clinicians immediate access to patient information that is
uniform and easily comprehensible. Data standards, they said, should be developed
in the following areas: clinical terminology, exchange of data among computers,
and representation of medical information in computer programs. The committee
also urged government health care programs such as Medicare to promote the
adoption of national data standards by incorporating them into their regulatory
Hampton T. Sharing Patient Health Data. JAMA. 2004;291(4):415. doi:10.1001/jama.291.4.415-b
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