A health freedom advocate recommends people contact their federal and state representatives about electronic health records.
An electronic health record (EHR) is a digital version of a patient's paper chart.
As explained by HealthIT.gov, EHRs can contain a patient's medical history, allow access to evidence-based tools that providers can use to make decisions about a patient's care, and automate and streamline provider workflow.
The idea behind EHRs is to have various people and organizations using the same system and "help build a healthier future for our nation."
Still, problems can occur.
Twila Brase, R.N. and president of Citizens' Council for Health Freedom, points to a recent episode in Missouri where EHRs went offline for 20 hours.
"These were all the medical records of the patient," she explains, "and the EHR is often used not just to look at information on the patient or to write information about the patient, but it's also used to order treatments and check on information that is used to order treatment."
All of that information, he says, "went dark" due to the computer problems.
The use of an electronic health record dates back several years, but Brase says Congress and President Obama mandated that all hospitals and doctors use the EHR and that it be interoperable.
Brase says she and Health Freedom are warning the public that their electronic record is not safe and does not protect their privacy, and it can leave both patients and doctors in trouble if the information goes offline.
"It doesn't follow the typical way that doctors and nurses take care of patients," she further explains. "Therefore they should let their members of congress know, they should let their state legislators know, that this should not be mandated."
The best way to move into electronic medical records, she says, is for the idea to evolve gradually into a system that doctors and nurses find useful – and something that's not mandated.