Slow move to electronic medical records

Too often, Leah Stanley shows up at a doctor’s office or hospital feeling lousy. And she must, yet again, detail the 17 medicines she takes.

Sometimes she gives up and directs attention to where she has stored the tally of drugs in her iPhone.

“It’s like, ‘I’m sick,’ ” said the 50-year-old nursing instructor. “I don’t want to have to tell my story again.”

She pines for the day when records collected at one place will, in a flash, be shipped electronically wherever they’re needed. That would certainly make her life easier and avoid the odds of error that increase every time her medical history is re-entered into a computer or on a paper chart.

We’re getting there. Government and industry are in the midst of a multibillion-dollar electronic medical records spending spree.

So if they haven’t already, your medical records soon will be digitized by North Kansas City’s Cerner Corp. or the many other companies in the business.

Just how much and how quickly electronic medical records will help you is less clear.

The effort to drag the health care industry into the digital age isn’t yet revolutionizing care, or freeing doctors and nurses from their charting chores.

But old paper headaches are being quickly replaced by new electronic anxieties.

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