Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 3:37 pm
By Nancy Shute
Should emergency rooms track the number of people who get hurt or sick after drinking coffee? That's what the maker of Monster Energy drinks suggests in response to a recent report that emergency room visits involving caffeine-laced energy drinks doubled from 2007 to 2011.
Information technology has transformed much of the American economy, but its use in health care still lags, especially when it comes to electronic medical records.
Here's an example: The state of Colorado runs a computerized registry where any provider who gives a child a vaccine can report that information. The system should help kids stay current with their immunizations.
For at least a decade, many have assumed that too many fidgety kids have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and been medicated for it. But it's still been hard to get reliable information on just how many kids are getting diagnosed and whether it's justified. So researchers at Kaiser Permanente in California decided to look at the trend, using the best data they could get from kids who'd actually seen specialists.