Bush: Use IT to reduce medical errors and costs

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President Bush's call this week to computerize healthcare records and use information technology (IT) to reduce medical errors and frivolous medical lawsuits received support from one healthcare vendor.

Eleanor Kerr, director of government relations-healthcare at Siemens Medical Solutions, said the healthcare system should turn to IT "for our nation to make a dent in the medical error issue, and also to ultimately improve healthcare costs in America."

During his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Bush advocated more aggressive use of medical technology to reduce the number of medical mistakes, which escalate healthcare costs.

"The majority of medical errors do not result from carelessness or individual human error," Kerr said, "but rather from flaws in the delivery system. Simple and readily available information technologies -- such as the use of bar code technology for medication management and electronic medical records -- can address these flaws."

She added that the IT initiatives and effect ultimately "should put a dent in malpractice issues as insurance providers decrease costs to users of technology proven to cut errors. New policies will drive the healthcare industry to adopt information technologies that minimize human error, put more checks and balances into place, and provide caregivers with anytime, anywhere access to vital patient data needed for critical medical decisions."