How is your practice’s patient data being used?

Many practices submit patient data to data repositories as the federal government pushes physicians and hospitals to put records into electronic medical records (“EMRs”).

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Many physicians wonder what happens to the data that they submit.

Surprisingly, the answer is almost nothing. Most of the data has not been sorted, let alone used in a large study or for any research.

While the data could potentially be used for clues to health and diseases, it has yet to be analyzed for the most part.

Why the delay?

Data is pouring in large quantities and many EMRs are not easily compatible. Further, hand-written notes on records are hard to read and input.

The first challenge is to find out how to sort the data, before any patient data can be useful to society as a whole.

There are also errors in the data and patients that are not represented. The raw data is not always accurate.

Further, patients need to be persuaded to participate in studies.

Despite the delays and challenges regarding the raw data, the government is not giving up hope regarding the potential usefulness of the data. Currently, the federal government has spent over $28 billion in incentives to encourage physicians and hospitals to switch to electronic records.

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