Another Perspective on Meaningful Use and EMR

Posted on May 21, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Tom’s previous guest post about meaningful use and healthcare IT seems to have struck a chord with some of my readers. Here’s an example of one email (posted with permission) from the always passionate Al Borge, MD, I received in response to Tom’s post. The most interesting part of Al’s email is his last comment about the Medicare penalties that ARRA will impose.

>>> As for the burden of meeting Meaningful Use criteria being too stringent for small practices to meet, this is again an excuse to avoid change.

“Change” for change’s sake is not the way to go… the change that you are talking about is BAD change, and that’s not the way to go.

Look- physicians aren’t just a bunch of luddies that are ignoring high tech out of ignorance. When it comes to technology, we’re usually the first to buy tablet PC’s, the first to buy/significantly use the latest and greatest cell phones as well as have several internet accounts for our homes, offices, and for mobile apps. We buy some of the best cars on the market and cherish a whole host of other electronic “toys” that we use daily.

The problem with the EMR is that most of the EHR systems out there today are simply 1) unaffordable, 2) workflow killers, 3) are being coopted by Big Government in schemes like P4P that later are used against us to pay us less.

The vendor inspired dogma that the EHR saves money, decreases errors, and increases quality has yet to be proven in a side-to-side test against paper and against simple, basic EMRs. Until these claims are proven, most docs will sit on the sidelines. Most of us are not that stupid to believe this crap.

What we see is that a lot of lobbying money is being spent in an effort to get our politicians to enact laws to straddle physicians with the high cost and complexity of an “Obama” HITECH ready EHR, most of which have as high as a 50% deinstallation rate (based on numerous sources) and as has been recently reported by the CDC, owns only a 6% market share among practicing clinicians.

>>> Buying an EMR system and using only half the features will undoubtedly lead to the system not generating the ROI it is capable of providing.

As long as paper records or a “basic” EMR returns a good ROI, it’ll be a hard sell for vendors to force doctors into using a budget and workflow busting EHR.

>>> Being forced to meet Meaningful Use is a way of ensuring offices are using their EMR system in a way that will provide them with the benefits it is designed to provide.

This one is scary- under President Obama are we now living in such a Communist state that Big Government has the power to force its citizens, which in this case are physicians to go against their better judgements and to buy EHR systems that they do not care to use? You have to be kidding me…

This is truly a Healthcare train that is out of control. The day that I get hit with a Medicare 5% tax/penalty I’ll simply pass it onto my elderly Medicare patients as a yearly “Obama tax” thaty THEY, not I will have to absorb. No pay, no see.