Doctors who use electronic medical records have reported that the technology makes them better doctors, leading to superior patient care [sources: Lohr, Lohr]. However, we can't yet measure how much better patients can fare with an electronic medical record because so few offices and hospitals have implemented the system.
A 2009 study compared medical treatment in hospitals with advanced electronic medical record-keeping systems to hospitals with more basic systems and hospitals with no computerized records. In the case of treating heart failure, hospitals with advanced systems met federal best-practice quality standards 87.8 percent of the time, while those with a basic system did so 86.7 percent of the time and those with no system did so 85.9 percent of the time [source: Lohr]. Though the researchers admitted that the differences in treatment were marginal, they claimed that widespread use would be necessary to see a true impact. In August 2010, the government released standards detailing how doctors and hospitals should use electronic medical records in order to maximize results.