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In July 2004, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched its initiative to develop a National Health Information Infrastructure. The ultimate goal of this initiative is to create an electronic health record (EHR) for every American so that health records can be securely shared among health care providers. This Topic in Depth explores developments in electronic health records and technology.This first website (1) is the official site for the National Health Information Infrastructure 2004: Cornerstones for Electronic Healthcare. Some current ideas for how to share medical records, such as secured online postings or saving data on flash disks are discussed in this article from PC World (2). This next article (3) discusses another development in information technology, implantable electronic identification chips. The fourth website (4) presents findings from a recent Medical Records Institute survey of health providers on their current uses, future hopes and perceived barriers to electronic health record systems. One challenge for the initiative is interoperability, which is explained generally on this website (5). The issue of interoperability, as well as privacy and fragmentation in the health industry are addressed in the Preliminary Roadmap for Achieving Electronic Connectivity in Healthcare released by Connecting for Health (6). For more on current research on technology supporting the use of electronic records see this website from The Electronic Record Development and Implementation Programme (ERDIP) (7).
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