Health Policymaking in the US
An electronic medical record (EMR) is a medical record in digital format.
In health informatics an EMR is considered by some to be one of several types of EHR (electronic health record)s, but in general usage EMR and EHR are synonymous.
The term has sometimes included other (HIT, or Health Information Technology) systems which keep track of medical information, such as the practice management system which supports the electronic medical record.
As of 2006, adoption of EMRs and other health information technology, such as computer physician order entry (CPOE), has been minimal in the United States. Less than 10% of American hospitals have implemented health information technology, while a mere 16% of primary care physicians use EHRs. The vast majority of healthcare transactions in the United States still take place on paper, a system that has remained unchanged since the 1950s. The healthcare industry spends only 2% of gross revenues on HIT, which is meager compared to other information intensive industries such as finance, which spend upwards of 10%. The following issues are behind the slow rate of adoption:
In healthcare, interoperability is the ability of different information technology systems and software applications to communicate, to exchange data accurately, effectively, and consistently, and to use the information that has been exchanged. 
In the United States, the development of standards for EMR interoperability is at the forefront of the national health care agenda. Without interoperable EMRs, practicing physicians, pharmacies and hospitals cannot share patient information, which is necessary for timely, patient-centered and portable care. There are currently multiple competing vendors of EHR systems, each selling a software suite that in many cases is not compatible with those of their competitors. Only counting the outpatient vendors, there are... [continues]
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