EMRs "expensive, difficult to implement and laborious to use"

LETTER — Posted May 2, 2011

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Regarding "5 ways meaningful use will change your practice" (Article, March 21): Reading this article and comparing it with my personal experience, I have to say there was only one statement in the article that is accurate: Physicians may find that the workday has gotten longer.

Between my personal practice and locum tenens work, I have been exposed to three different electronic medical records, and none of them make a doctor's life easier than a paper record. All make it harder, less efficient and more complicated.

If electronic medical records were so great, the government would not be trying to coerce us into using them; doctors would be knocking down the vendors' doors to implement them.

The reality currently is that they are expensive, difficult to implement and laborious to use. Until I can go to Staples or Office Max and pick up a program in a box that I can install in my PC or Mac, and it works as easily as Microsoft Internet Explorer or iTunes, the American Medical Association should be using its advocacy to oppose government coercion.

Seriously, are we not busy enough without spending hours and days developing HIPAA manuals and struggling to use a computer system that merely doubles one's work?

Jeffrey A. Pruitt, MD, Defiance, Ohio

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2011/05/02/edlt0502.htm.

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