With one click, Michael McAdoo, a physician in Milan, Tenn., has access to his patients' medical records and can forward the information to other doctors or pharmacists.
He and his colleagues at Milan Medical Center are rarities, however, especially in rural parts of Tennessee. At least that's the conclusion of a new state survey on electronic record-keeping that says rural areas trail cities in Internet connectivity and readiness.
Better news may be that 71% of hospitals surveyed plan to install systems to let them automate paper record-keeping in less than five years. Right now, only 4% of hospitals statewide use electronic medical records.
Among doctors' practices, an estimated 21% can pull up patients' medical histories electronically, take notes, and prepare and send prescriptions to pharmacists. Most of the doctors with Internet connections are in the city, though. Only 8% in rural areas say they are connected.
Read more (registration may be required).