US health officials have released standards for electronic medical records to spur the development of the technology, with hopes of cutting health costs and reducing medical errors.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a set of standards focusing on the usefulness of electronic records to healthcare providers in managing health records.

Requirements include that at least 80% of all patients who request an electronic copy of their health records receive it within 48 hours.

The Health and Human Services Department issued another set of standards to enhance the interoperability, functionality, utility and security of health information technology.

The standards, which are subject to a period of public comment, may affect many service providers.

A final rule on standards will be issued this year.