Digitizing Medical Records Could Be Daunting Task
Obama Calls For All Records To Be Computerized

WLWT 5 | January 8, 2009

CINCINNATI -- President-elect Barack Obama outlined a massive undertaking as part of his economic stimulus plan, and the daunting task would impact the largest hospitals and doctors in private practice.

Obama said he would like all hospital records to be transferred to digital format within five years, and area practitioners who are already undergoing the transition said the job isn’t easy.

"It is very expensive, very time-consuming to make these systems fit your office (and) it is also time-consuming just to learn the whole process,” said Dr. Jeff Heaton of EDS Pediatrics.

EDS Pediatrics has offices in Hyde Park and Milford, and the cost to digitize was $50,000.

Each patient chart must be scanned into the computer system, which could make their record-keeping more efficient in the long run.

“They're telling us once that's done you will eventually see some cost savings, in terms of manpower,” said Lisa Horst of EDS Pediatrics.

In the short-term, however, some problems could arise.

“You're going to have systems that don't know how to talk other systems, (and) how do you transfer things from one place to another place?” Heaton said.

However, he said the short-term pain would be worth the long-term gain once they complete the transition in three months.