Washington—Statement of AFT President Randi Weingarten on building an effective digital health records system following today's front page New York Times story outlining problems with the current system.
"Bringing our medical records into the digital age has the potential to save lives—but only if it is done right, and only if it is done in partnership with frontline healthcare providers. We are headed down a troubling path where patients, nurses and frontline providers are being hobbled by systems that are difficult to use, time-consuming, cannot share patient information and are enriching corporations instead of helping patients.
"It's time to correct course to guarantee our digital records systems live up to their potential to improve patient care, save lives and support rather than hinder the work of health professionals. Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has been a leader in accelerating our move to digitized health records. The Health and Human Services Department must now take additional action to ensure frontline providers and patients have access to the same patient information in Bozeman as they do in Boston; make systems and technology easy to use; design and implement systems in coordination with frontline providers; and provide the necessary support and training so that the technology is used effectively and efficiently.
"AFT's nurses and health professionals, the women and men who understand best what their patients need, want to be partners in getting this right, and we look forward to working with policymakers and technology corporations to build a 21st-century health record system."
View AFT's 2010 survey of health professionals on health information technology.