Who is Pushing for Electronic Health Records and Who Isn't?

Since the federal government is putting huge sums of money into the expansion of the use of electronic health records in the United States it seems like doctors would be jumping on the bandwagon. But this isn't the case although the monetary incentives are great and the cost has been one of the reasons that more haven't already adopted this record keeping and maintaining system.

The costs that would be abated by the stimulus money include upgrading computers, new software, and employing technicians. But it looks like many doctors think it is a good idea on paper or in theory, but taking the time out of their busy schedules to learn how-to and then to input the information doesn't appeal to some doctors because they would not see the number of patients as usual and would lose money. Jason Millman reported this response in Hartford Business Journal Online in his article Even With Incentives, Doctors Resist Electronic Records. According to that article a lot of doctors in Connecticutt aren't ready to change to electronic health records. But they are probably no different than many doctors in other states.

There is a learning curve for doctors that want to be ready for the funding must undergo: prescribing electronically, exchanging data via a health information exchange, and showing that they are trying to utilize the electronic health system to gain better and more economical results.

Among those that are pushing for use of electronic health records are some doctors but also Wal-Mart who has announced a deal with eClinicalWorks. The partners will sell hardware, software, installation, maintenance and training directly to physicians, according to Jason Millman.

The forum EMR (EHR) and HIPPA has a post that is most interesting that is about implementing electronic health records, otherwise known as electronic medical records. Someone named John, who sounds like a doctor discusses the importance of EMR to medical practices. He doesn't discourage the use of EMR, but wants doctors to be meticulous about which technology company they go with in order to get a better system. He says that just as paper systems have been the center of a doctor's practice, EMR will be the center holding the practice together when it is implemented. All of the personnel like nurses, billing, and front desk will be affected by how the doctor or doctors implement the EMR system.

He says the time spent imputing data to an EMR will be an exchange for the time spent writing handwritten records. Like he explains unless doctors go back to the days when records weren't kept, some time will always be devoted to keeping and maintaining records.

Hating paperwork or in this case computer record keeping isn't something only doctors dislike, but medical records are of ultimate importance. It has to be done and the government, many doctors, and technology companies are urging the use of electronic health records. It is only a matter of time until paper records are totally obsolete and that is something reluctant doctors can't change.


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