The blank wall behind the receptionists' desk stands as a symbol of efficiency in Peter Basch's bustling office. A dozen years ago, Basch and his fellow doctors went paperless and ditched the stacks of patients' charts that stood there.
An early entry into the world of electronic medical records, Basch is an enthusiastic supporter. "It allows our staff and physicians to be far more organized," he says. And that means "more focused on the patient."
President Obama wants doctors' offices and hospitals nationwide to follow suit, and the government has set a goal for every American to have an electronic health record by 2014. Kathleen Sebelius, the White House nominee for Health and Human Services secretary, calls the move to computerization "one of the linchpins" of overhauling the nation's health care system. Obama casts it as a factor in the nation's economic recovery, saying going paperless would "save billions of dollars and thousands of jobs."