on adverse events and help reduce medical errors, which a recent study
estimated are the third leading cause of death in the United States. 12 Surveys
have found that physicians believe that electronic medical records do make
information more accessible and have great potential in quality, but they have
been frustrated with the types of products available and their functionality. 13
Even so, digitizing health information and helping patients to access and
understand their own health information remains beneficial. For example,
recent renewed interest in telehealth stems from innovations in
telecommunications and mobile technologies because such innovation has
improved monitoring and created convenient options interaction between
patients and providers. 14 Due to the worldwide availability of mobile phones,
mobile health can reach both the developing and the industrialized worlds,
and everywhere in-between. 15 New mobile devices help consumers track
different aspects of their health, from diet to daily steps, to even sleep
patterns. 16 Although much attention has focused on practitioners’ frustrations
meeting federal meaningful-use requirements, 17 the federal investment in
health IT has helped to ensure that doctors, hospitals, and many safety-net
providers are wired with electronic medical records. 18
Like much of our healthcare system, our regulations around health IT are
messy and fractured. Policymakers struggle to keep up with new
technological advances that are allowing more patient-data to be collected
12. Martin Makary & Michael Daniel, Medical Error—The Third Leading Cause of Death
in the U.S., THE BMJ 2 (May 3, 2016), http://www.bmj.com/content/353/bmj.i2139.
13. Mark Friedberg et al., Factors Affecting Physician Professional Satisfaction and Their
Implications for Patient Care, Health Systems, and Health Policy, RAND HEALTH iii,
xvi (2013), http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR400/RR439/RA
14. Jeremy Storm, Affordable Telehealth For Everyone, AM. TELEMEDICINE ASS’N.
(Oct. 8, 2015, 7: 12 PM), https://thesource.americantelemed.org/blogs/jeremy-storm/2015/10/
08/affordable-telehealth-for-everyone; see also Memorandum from Bernice Reyes-Akinbilege, to the Senate Special Comm. on Aging 3 (Sept. 12, 2014) (on file with
Congressional Research Service), http://www.aging.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/CRS%20
f [hereinafter CRS Memorandum].
15. Schlesinger et al., supra note 2, at 4; WORLD HEALTH ORG., supra note 7, at 51.
16. WORLD HEALTH ORG., supra note 7, at 51.
17. Rajiv Leventhal, Physicians Pinpoint Frustrations with EHRs in Published
Commentary, HEALTHCARE INFORMATICS (Aug. 18, 2016), http://www.healthcare-informatics.com/news-item/ehr/physicians-pinpoint-frustrations-ehrs-published-commentary
(citing Donna M. Zulman et al., Evolutionary Pressures on the Electronic Health Record
Caring for Complexity, 316 J. AM. MED. ASS’N 923, 923–24 (2016)).
18. Karen DeSalvo & Vindell Washington, By the Numbers: Our Progress in Digitizing
Health Care, HEALTH AFFAIRS BLOG (Sept. 29, 2016), http://healthaffairs.org/blog/
2016/09/29/by-the-numbers-our-progress-in-digitizing-health-care/ (noting that federal
investments in health IT have exponentially increased the use of EHRs from 10 percent of
hospitals and 17 percent of physicians in 2009 to nearly all hospitals and approximately 80
percent of physicians).