Until there is a mandate on the electronic health records (EHR), it will not happen. Only 1.5% of nonfederal hospitals have a comprehensive program; less than 10% have basic programs. I picture a system that is similar to the Veteran Administration program and Medicare billing (both well coordinated) with various vendors. It does boggle the mind when you realize what is involved, and just thinking about all the various components that have to be coordinated to make it work. How do you make it work when there are five different hospital systems in one town - not even thinking about the big picture? Essential? Yes! Happening tomorrow? Not unless mandated and coordinated.
Data source: “Still low tech - EHR adoption rates remain low: study by Joseph Conn, in Modern Healthcare, March 30, 2009, page 9.