Just about half of doctors are using electronic health records, according to Health and Human Services’ latest survey on the issue:
That’s a pretty high number, historically-speaking: As recently as 2005, just about a quarter of doctors’ offices had gone digital.
In the larger scheme of technological adaption, however, it’s dishearteningly low. Imagine walking into a bank, handing over a deposit, and watching your bank teller dutifully copy down the amount onto a pad of paper and stash it away in a file folder. It would feel a bit like a scene from decades ago.
But that’s pretty much what we still do at a lot of our doctors’ offices: Our vital signs and various prescriptions get scrawled onto doctors’ notepads and stored away in vast filing cabinets. Bad handwriting, meanwhile, can be bad for your health: One study, which looked at an Australian hospital switching to an electronic prescribing system, saw errors drop by 60 percent. Right now, that’s only happening in a small majority of American doctors’ offices.