EHR Proponents Keep Forgetting the Doctors

Posted on February 4, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the 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 and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I decided to see if I could find the Senate testimony on EMR and EHR so that I could see the types of messages that were being told to Senate during their hearings on health care IT.  Well, it turns out that I found a ton of interesting information about the Senate hearings.  I had a feeling it was part of the public record and I think I was right.  In fact, I found a video of at least one Senate hearing and I’ll be writing about it shortly.

In this post I want to just highlight one section of the testimony from Adrienne Hahn.   It looks like Adrienne Hahn is from Consumers Union, the independent, nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports.  In Adrienne’s testimony she makes the following assertions about Health Care IT:

By harnessing the power of modern information technology systems we can improve the quality of American health care and moderate health costs by: 

1. Reducing Errors 
2. Eliminating service duplication, 
3. Promoting pay for performance, and 
4. Providing the data necessary to evaluate the actual comparative effectiveness of various treatments and drugs. 

I should point out that the majority of Adrienne Hahn’s testimony has to do with preserving a patient’s privacy and the impact of these choices on the consumer.  However, the above list of improvements caused me to pause.

Look at the list above and tell me which one benefits the doctors.  I guess reducing errors could possibly lower the liability a doctor has.  However, does anyone really think that in this sue happy world that a doctor’s liability insurance is ever going to come down in price?  Other than that, this list doesn’t include anything that benefits the doctors.

Maybe I’m missing something, but I have seen a ton of information advocating for patient’s privacy.  I’ve seen ton of people lobbying for better reimbursement models (see insurance companies).  Who is making sure that software is being built that will make doctors lifes easier as well?  If you’re a doctor’s advocate, I’d love to see and hear about what you’re doing to use health care IT to make doctor’s lives better.

I should also clarify that no, I’m not a doctor.