Research challenges for electronic health records.
The availability and use of electronic health records (EHRs) are likely to increase markedly over the next 10 years. This promulgation of EHRs will change dramatically the delivery of healthcare in the United States. Researchers seeking to maximize the impact of EHRs face at least two major and quite different challenges. First, rigorous evaluations of EHR systems are vital but not easily achieved. Second, researchers must determine how to take full advantage of the potential to create and disseminate new knowledge that is possible as a result of the data that are captured by EHRs. This paper reviews critical methodologic issues that need to be considered in the evaluation of EHRs, identifies pivotal policy issues that impact the ability of researchers (and public health professionals) to use the data that will accumulate as a result of EHR diffusion, and recommends actions for those who are interested in changing the landscape of EHR development, research, and implementation.
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