Friday, August 01, 2014

The EMR boondoggle

Electronic Medical Records (EMR) are a health mandate that was included in Obama's stimulus, ARRA in 2009 ($19 billion). There was no research; no evidence it would improve health; not a smidgen that EMR would reduce costs. But what a boon for IT companies which must have terrific lobbyists. Those doctors who were already computerized, had a do-over, with either a penalty or a reward for doing it. So what is EMR really good for? Data mining. 70,000 new codes. A caller to the Glenn Beck show today was reading some of the codes: this was priceless, "walking into a lamp post, first encounter" and "walking into a lamp post, second encounter." Another one had to do with an alien space craft. This will allow government bureaucrats to decide who gets the grants to decide where lamp posts should be, and who is crazy enough to get medical help after finding an alien space craft.

I had an appointment with a pulmonologist this week (I’ve been diagnosed with asthma, and they can’t find an inhaler I can tolerate), and the whole practice was in a uproar over their new computer system.  For a week they had coaches from some computer firm with them.  Last fall, I went through the same thing at my internist office; every thing has to be reentered, you sign a digital signature, and have your photo scanned into the system.  Lots of mischief when not only all your identifying information is residing in cyberspace but it’s linked to your photo and signature.  My internist’s office and the pulmonologist’s office records are not compatible, by the way.  I spoke to the doctor about EMR.  “Nothing but data mining,” he said.  “Useless for health care.”

“Although the chief goal has been to improve efficiency and cut costs, a disappointing report published last week by the RAND Corp. found that electronic health records actually may be raising the nation’s medical bills. “ New York Times

“Despite the government’s bribe of nearly $27 billion to digitize patient records, nearly 70% of physicians say electronic health record (EHR) systems have not been worth it. It’s a sobering statistic backed by newly released data from marketing and research firm MPI Group and Medical Economics that suggest nearly two-thirds of doctors would not purchase their current EHR system again because of poor functionality and high costs.” Medical Economics

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