When Dr. Bradley Block, a family physician in Florida, began to investigate electronic medical record systems for his four-doctor practice, he discovered that many of the largest firms in the field were not particularly interested in his business.
Everyone seems to think electronic health records are a great idea: going digital cuts down on paper storage, makes it easier to transfer patient information from one provider to another, and ultimately will enable the medical industry to create immense clinical databases. Electronic health records are a key component of the Obama Administration's stimulus plan, and dozens of corporations claim they are lined up to create more jobs when the government releases funds for digitizing medical files and other improvements to healthcare information technology.
When Glen Tullman, the CEO of a health-care IT business called Allscripts, was watching the second presidential debate three months ago, something unexpected happened at the 50-minute mark. Both John McCain and Barack Obama told the audience that they wanted to digitize America's healthcare system. The first step: creating electronic medical records.