In a March 2012 article in Health Affairs, a team of authors from the Urban Institute and Mathematica Policy Research finds that achieving ambitious goals for the adoption of electronic health records and the nationwide exchange of electronic health information will require overcoming a number of hurdles. First and foremost, providers and patients have to be persuaded of the value of exchanging information and have to be supportive of steps to make it possible. For example, there are broad concerns about the tradeoffs between sharing information electronically and safeguarding the privacy and security of patients health care data. A case in point: existing federal law provides for the use of a single identification number for every US patient, but Congress has blocked the use of federal funds to develop this ID system because of privacy concerns.
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