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A Perfect Storm

May 1, 2006
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The issue of privacy has been, and continues to be, a hot potato for all those charged with guarding it.

Demands are driving EMRs — demands for improved quality, demands for increased efficiencies and demands for cost control. And, by most accounts, EMRs are at a critical stage, especially for order entry, documentation and decision support. Our cover story this month, (Time to Move, page 18), takes an in-depth look at the struggle to install and implement foundation systems that will support a fully functional EMR.

How does document imaging fit into your long-term IT strategy? Some healthcare IT executives see purchasing document imaging and management systems as a stopgap measure on the road to full-featured EMRs. Others see it as immediate relief from mountains of paper. And still others find they need both types of systems. Read all about it in Image is Everything, page 26.

Beds are expanding and needs are growing in the long-term care market. LTC provider organizations are unique — and require specialized IT systems to meet functional needs. This article, Taking the Long View, page 14, examines the state of the market and the challenges of cost and system availability, as well as those encountered in selecting an IT system.

Widely accepted and used in dozens of industries, smart cards are starting to have an impact on patient care. Most American hospitals use smart cards to ID employees and allow them access to networks and facilities, but a growing cadre of healthcare facilities are using them not only to identify patients, but to empower them with portable health records. We investigate in Not Your Average Card, page 12.

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