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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Vincent F Carr, DO, MSA, FACC, FACP (Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences)
Description: This is a series of articles on the current state of affairs in the national debate over the need for, and how to adopt, an electronic medical record, while recognizing the difficulties, costs, and other impediments to implementing such a system.
Purpose: In the preface, the editor clearly outlines why electronic medical records are important and, subsequently, why he has brought the contributors together. The book has great potential and it addresses an important topic. However, one of the major drivers in medical costs is the duplication of tests, particularly when patients are being referred for specialty care. Unfortunately, the book fails short of discussing the interactions between primary care and specialty physicians.
Audience: This is a book for every medical practice, primary care and specialist, that is facing the questions of should they implement an electronic medical record system, and when and how they should do it.
Features: The book brings up many basic questions concerning electronic medical records, but it leaves many questions unaddressed, such as the interaction of primary care and specialty physicians. Also, the discussions are somewhat one-sided, based upon primary care physicians. Corresponding discussion from software engineers would have been a considerable improvement. Another issue is the interaction of governmental entities that are driving implementation of electronic records and, while there is some discussion of governmental impact, hearing from the framers of the legislation would help explain their expectations and what they have learned in unexpected outcomes thus far.
Assessment: There is good information in this book, but it stops short of expectations. Perhaps the next edition could be expanded to address these farther-reaching aspects of the electronic medical record implementation initiatives..