As the healthcare industry marches towards Stage 2 of Meaningful Use, there is a large population of physicians that have not yet accepted the requirements put forth by CMS in the EHR Incentive Programs. Dr. Daniel F. Craviotto Jr., an orthopedic surgeon in Santa Barbara, California, took to the Wall Street Journal earlier this week to protest the restrictive chains of EHR adoption, quality penalties, shrinking Medicare reimbursements, and bureaucratic red tape that prevent a physician from focusing on what’s really important: engaging with and treating patients.
As noted in a previous blog post (Doctors or Data Entry Clerks?) we have been wondering when physicians, other healthcare practitioners and more importantly, healthcare executives were finally going to see the Emperor’s true clothes and begin to push back against the $30 billion dollar machine which is perverting healthcare delivery and any true efforts to reduce the rise in healthcare spending in this country.
Now do a quick Google search and all of a sudden there is a growing list of articles questioning the implementation, cost and patient safety benefits arising from this national initiative. Here is a sample of some of the most recent articles:
U.S. Electronic Health Record Initiative: A Backlash (IEEE Spectrum)
Electronic Health Records Rife with Flaws (Albuquerque Journal)
Is EHR “mania” Hiding Serious Patient Safety Flaws? (EHR Intelligence)
To be clear we are not against the implementation of technology in healthcare. In fact, there are any number of proven technologies that we have all benefited from and there will be new technologies that we will benefit from moving forward in the future. What we are saying is two things:
First, if the technology is truly of value to the marketplace (any marketplace, but in this case the healthcare delivery marketplace) then we have a great system setup in this country where that technology will be embraced (sold and implemented) and it does not require a $30 billion push from the government to make it happen.
Secondly, since one of the largest cost drivers in any business (including healthcare) is people, then one of the best and simplest ways to reduce costs is to ensure you have the right people, doing the right activities in the most cost effective manner. Using highly educated, highly compensated physicians as data entry clerks is not the solution.
For all our sake’s we hope this groundswell continues to grow!