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The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age by Robert Wachter

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Chapter 2Shovel Ready

By computerizing health records, we can avoid dangerous medical mistakes, reduce costs, and improve care.

—President George W. Bush, State of the Union address, January 20, 2004

President George W. Bush was discouraged, and more than a little envious. The year 2003 had begun well enough for Bush and his administration, starting with March’s “Shock and Awe” campaign to launch the Iraq war, followed two months later by the exuberant “Mission Accomplished” speech on the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln. But by summer, the security situation in Iraq had frayed badly, and Bush realized that the war would not yield the quick, painless victory he had hoped for. Particularly with a reelection campaign just over the horizon, the ...

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