HHS should study health IT errors, House panel says

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Aug. 22, 2011

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The House Committee on Small Business wants the Obama administration to study the benefits and cost-effectiveness of physicians adopting health information technology.

Committee Chair Rep. Renee Ellmers (R, N.C.) has asked the Dept. of Health and Human Services to study the use of electronic medical records, electronic prescribing systems and other health IT systems being implemented in physician offices and hospitals across the country. House members have concerns about the negative impacts, such as the hours of training and extra overhead costs, of adopting EMRs in physician offices. Lawmakers also cited recent press reports of technology failing to prevent fatal medical errors.

"We must do all we can to ensure a commitment to our health care system and patient," Ellmers wrote in an Aug. 11 letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Though new technologies offer great promise, Ellmers said, HHS should consider both human and technological medical error rates that can be traced to new systems.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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