Health agency targets medical errors with Internet tools

The Health Resources Services Administration last week unveiled an initiative

to improve health care in HRSA-funded community health centers by providing

physicians with Internet-based electronic document tools.

MedicaLogic Inc., Hillsboro, Ore., donated nearly $1 million of its Logician

Internet online health record subscriptions, along with laptops, printers

and training, to 200 physicians in 160 HRSA-funded health centers. Logician

Internet provides doctors with electronic Medicaid/Medicare-compliant chart

notes and secure access to patient data at any time via a dial-up Internet

connection.

HRSA centers serve uninsured, underinsured and medically underserved people

across the country. The new program should help stem medical errors in these

centers by providing doctors with access to patient information, said HRSA

administrator Claude Earl Fox.

Medical errors, which have received a lot of attention from the White House

and the press, are the fifth leading source of deaths in the United States,

according to Fox.

"This pilot program using Internet technology to curb medical records is

in line with the [Clinton] administration's goal to cut medical errors by

50 percent in five years," Fox said. "This is the first opportunity for

community heath centers to [partner] with the technology community."

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