Opinion

Push for electronic medical records developing into yet another hassle for primary care physicians

LETTER — Posted Sept. 13, 2004

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Regarding "Health IT chief: Public-private partnership needed for EMRs" (Article, July 26): As a family physician and primary care provider, I have great reservations about computerized medical records. It appears we will soon have another unfunded government mandate to take all of our thousands of charts and place them on a computer database. Coming from the experience of the computerized billing mandate for Medicare patients, this is a bad idea.

Primary care physicians are the lowest paid and the most utilized by patients. These unfunded mandates are huge burdens financially, mentally and emotionally.

Our paper records have stood the test of time and are far more reliable and confidential than electronic records. Yet we are asked to change to an expensive technology after spending thousands of dollars on computer hardware and software which is less than perfect, just for our billing purposes.

I can only guess how much more expensive computerized medical records will be to our practice. The cost and time involved to initiate and maintain computer medical records are the main detriments to implementation reported thus far in professional publications.

In addition, imagine the number of HIPAA violations that probably will occur with the touch of a keyboard on a computer medical record, and how many fines will be assessed against physicians as a result.

Computer information is only as good as the input from overworked and shorthanded medical staffs that have been made necessary because of reimbursement cutbacks, again mandated by the government.

This family physician wants assurances from the government that our professional viability and reputation will not be further damaged by programs designed to improve one thing and, in the process, damage many other things.

I am glad that David Brailer, MD, PhD, who is heading the national health information technology initiative, is at least negotiating less-expensive access to computer software for primary care providers. This may blunt some of the financial impact before full compliance with computerized medical records is federal law.

William V. Choisser, MD, Orange Park, Fla.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2004/09/13/edlt0913.htm.

Back to top


ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISE HERE


Featured
Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story


Read story

Goodbye

American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story


Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story


Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story


Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story


Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story


Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story


Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn