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In response to “No more dithering on e-health: let’s keep patients safe instead,”1 Dr. Majumdar argues that the jury is still out on electronic health records (EHRs).2 Based on what evidence? On safety, he is concerned with implementation problems and patient harm. For implementation, our successful peer nations can provide options for phasing in universal electronic systems smoothly and effectively. Regarding patient safety, his evidence is a pre-post study covering five months in one US hospital over seven years ago. There are tens of thousands of preventable adverse events every year in Canada; an integrated and universal data infrastructure could help reduce them and facilitate coordinated care for patients with complex conditions. We have no illusions that EHRs will fix all the problems in health care. However, we’re already spending billions, the potential benefits are large and the experience of other nations suggests EHRs are a necessary step toward improved quality and safety.
For the full letter, go to: www.cmaj.ca/cgi/eletters/182/6/535#330777