I’ve written previously about the growing use of electronic health records (EHRs).  Some of this growth is driven by Administration mandates while some can be attributed to the enhanced patient care perceived by medical and health professionals.

Using EHRs does allow patients and their medical professionals faster access to personal patient health information.  However, this type of patient information is among the most sensitive that exists.  So making sure that the EHRs are protected optimally is, and should be, a key consideration for their creation and usage.

As Marianne Kolbasuk McGee recently reported, these issues are receiving increased congressional attention (www.healthcareinfosecurity.com; “Senate Scrutinizes EHR Interoperability”; May 5th).  The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions has created a working group that will be examining multiple EHRs related issues.  These topics include improving the ways in which EHRs operate; looking at ways in which to improve more secure health information exchange between and among vendors, healthcare providers and the EHR systems; and making EHRs easier to use by health and medical professionals.

The working group has set an ambitious target goal of making legislative and administrative recommendations by the end of 2015.

Any improvements to the security, privacy and operation of EHRs would be important advancements.