Today's Debate: Computing required by law?

Healthcare institutions stand to lose millions annually if they continue to operate at the current levels of quality control. The announcement means that hospitals must adopt some level of information technology to help track, document and report on the condition of patients throughout their stay.

Hillary Clinton from Rolling StoneShould doctors and hospitals be required by law to computerize in order to practice? (Picture from Rolling Stone.)

Hillary Clinton thinks so. In her latest health care press release, the Democratic front-runner calls for making the entire health care system "paperless," citing a Rand Corp. study claiming $77 billion could be saved.

Her only praise for the Bush Administration is a recent decision to "refuse Medicare payments for preventable infections, injuries and errors." She wants to extend the prohibition to insurance companies.

In other words if it's your mistake, you pay for it.

This is also the theme of a press release from VisualMED Clinical Solutions of Montreal, Canada, aimed at scaring hospitals into making systems decisions now. Citing the Medicare decision endorsed by Clinton, the company says:

Healthcare institutions stand to lose millions annually if they continue to operate at the current levels of quality control. The announcement means that hospitals must adopt some level of information technology to help track, document and report on the condition of patients throughout their stay.

The italics are mine.

So, have you got your computerized tracking system yet?