EMRs will result in denial of care

LETTER — Posted April 18, 2011

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Regarding "Jury still out on whether EMRs improve patient care" (Article, Feb. 7): It is no surprise to me to find that the "jury is still out" on whether the electronic medical record has improved patient care. I think the AMA should realize that the push for EMRs has very little to do with making pretty medical records.

The federal government is offering some $40,000 per practice to set these systems up for purposes other than pretty medical records. EMRs are to be used for instant audits and eventually to tell us who, how, when and if we get to treat patients based on formulas that will instantly deny care for patients who may be too heavy, smoke, use drugs or have other social issues.

EMRs are being pushed by many ex-politicians who have financial incentives and are heavily invested in their future use. In the meantime, physicians are grabbing the $40,000 in bonuses that the federal government is offering them, putting in their EMRs and then pushing buttons to maximize reimbursements much like mice trying to gain a bigger piece of cheese.

Let us recognize what EMRs are really for and what they are not for. The government doesn't spend $40,000 per physician because they want pretty records.

It is for control. That there has been no clinical proof of their positive role in patient care is no surprise to this physician as he finds many of his colleagues complaining about how much time it takes to input the data, which takes them away from patient care.

Peter F. Holmes, MD, San Antonio

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2011/04/18/edlt0418.htm.

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