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Given the amount of favorable press they get, it would be easy to conclude that EHRs have found near-unanimous acceptance among healthcare stakeholders.
But when someone does in fact speak up against them, you notice more than a few voices piping up in agreement.
For example, here’s a doctor who’s decided to liven up the dog days of summer with what might fairly be represented as a broadside against both EHRs and the policymakers who are promoting them.
On the latter note, the good doctor laments that “the Feds have appointed themselves as the final judge of how HIT should be used.”
He throws down that gauntlet while describing the apparent tsunami of support EHRs get from all corners, and then he continues: “But physicians who care for patients every day understand what no one else does – that the benefits of HIT are not a forgone conclusion. To us HIT has as much potential to harm patients as it has to help them. We also understand that the fund of knowledge required to safely and effectively implement HIT has not yet been adequately developed. It is therefore foolish, even dangerous, to force HIT into widespread use before it is well understood.”
Taking his stand rather plainly, he continues “There is surprisingly little evidence that the electronic medical record (EMR) improves quality of care. . . There are also no established EMR implementation strategies for medical practices. . . . HIT is also the only business technology in the entire economy that has been exempted from the need to show a return on investment.”
And then, finally, “MU incentives have sucked all the oxygen out of the room where original thought once took place.”
As usually happens, a more in-depth sign of the continuing divide across the healthcare sector can be found in the comments that follow the doctor’s opinion. One commenter correctly notes that the doctor provides no supporting evidence for his opinion, but others are quick to step right up alongside him.
So we’re just curious, how much skepticism remains among providers when it comes both to the value of EHRs and the effectiveness of the federal government’s efforts to promote them? Feel free to share your opinion in the Comments section below.
Jeff Rowe blogs regularly at EHRWatch.com.