Medical records: the digital movement to convert paper documents gets a boost

Most everyone agrees that getting doctors to convert paper health records to a digital system makes a ton of sense. Physicians could immediately pull up your lab data, scans, medical allergies, and other key information on the spot -- regardless of whether you're just seeing your regular physician or you're on an ER operating table.

Problem is, these systems don't come cheap. A September 2005 study in Health Affairs calculated an average cost of about $44,000 per physician to install an electronic health-records system -- not including any ongoing maintenance costs. But the barriers to adoption may finally be falling.