GOP senators raise concerns with push for electronic medical records

"Recent evidence indicates that, contrary to initial projections, health (information technology) as currently being used may unfortunately increase health care spending," the senators' report states.

They said the use of electronic medical records could be tied to an increase in unnecessary tests and procedures — part of the problem electronic records were intended to help solve.

The report also cites difficulties in ensuring that hospitals, doctors' offices and other providers can effectively use each other's records. Greater information-sharing is aimed at reducing medical errors like drug interactions, as well as cutting back on redundant testing.

But various systems aren't communicating with each other as needed, Thune's report said.

"We are seriously concerned that, despite the billions of taxpayer dollars spent and providers who may be penalized, (Medicare) does not yet seem to have an adequate plan to achieve secure, meaningful interoperability," the report states. "A lack of meaningful interoperability means $35 billion and years of effort are at risk of being wasted."