When visiting a new doctor, have you ever failed to recall your medical history accurately? Have you omitted listing a current medication? Have you been asked to have lab work repeated, even though you just recently had that blood test or x-ray? Given the stress of an illness or injury, such patient experiences are common, yet, they could be avoided through modern heath information technology. Having access to complete patient health information is critical to improving clinical care, reducing medical errors and decreasing costs.

On July 21, 2004, the Department of Health and Human Services unveiled a 10-year plan to create a new national health information infrastructure including an electronic health record (EHR) for every American and a new network to link health records nationwide.

HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson said in a statement at the HHS Summit on Health Information Technology in Washington that “electronic health information will provide a quantum leap in patient power, doctor power and effective health care. We can’t wait any longer.”

Need more information? These pages are intended to provide information and documents that address many of the common questions associated with electronic health records.