Politics of Electronic Medical Records
Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE
The EMR project that President Obama forced on the medical profession in 2009 has not yet produced any evidence that EMR will save the country $350 billion in inpatient care and $150 billion dollars in outpatient care over a 15 year period of time.
The RAND EMR study was wrong. The study sounded good to President Obama because he thought EMRs would enable the federal government to control medical and surgical practices in America.
Unfortunately, data from three other studies, a cardiology group, a Harvard group and Canadian group showed there is no savings difference between paper records and electronic records.
The project has been a $38 billion dollar failure. I predicted the EMR project would fail in 2011. EMRs are a great idea. The EMR projects goals were wrong.
Wall Street Journal article in 2012 stated, “The electronic medical record (EMR) is touted as the key to containing costs, reducing errors, improving quality, and simplifying administration: an “elegant exercise in wishful thinking.
The RAND Corporation study was paid for by all the vested interests stakeholders involved in medical care except physicians and patients.
“In February 2009, after years of behind-the-scenes lobbying by Allscripts and others, legislation to promote the use of electronic records was signed into law as part of President Obama’s economic stimulus bill.
GE and the healthcare insurance industry were also major funders of the RAND Study. The Obama administration funded the implementation of the EMR project to the detriment of the healthcare system.
The healthcare system has not contained costs, reduced errors, improved quality or simplified administration. Each category has gotten worse.
I do not think the Obama administration’s primary interest was to fix the existing healthcare system. If the EMR project hobbled the healthcare system, the population would beg the government to completely take over institute his “Public Option” and subsequently “Medicare for All.” There was no consideration of the fact that that Medicare and Medicaid are unsustainable.
The complete control of the VA Healthcare System has not worked out very well for the government. One important reason for the VA Healthcare System’s failure is the bloated government bureaucracy. Effective medical care takes instantaneous judgement and rapid execution. Government regulations inhibit the process leading to long waiting times and ineffective and costly treatment.
Medicare and Medicaid costs have been unsustainable and are getting worse. Why would a politician think complete government control over 20% of the GDP, the healthcare system, would be any better than a free market system where patients would take responsibility for their healthcare and healthcare dollars?
The government could provide the dollars to the needy with financial incentives attached for all in the system.
Ideal EMR should be for the benefit of physicians and their patients. The EMR should not be only for the financial benefit of healthcare insurance companies, the government, the pharmacy benefit managers and the software companies.
The EMR project places the secondary stakeholder in the position to judge physicians’ behavior and subsequently penalize them if they do not comply with government regulations and expected results.
The EMR should be a tool to continually educate physicians to help them become better. It should educate patients so they can become professors of their disease and help them avoid the complications of their chronic diseases.
The EMR should not be a tool used by secondary stakeholders to penalize physicians and patients. This will not decrease the ever-increasing cost of healthcare.
At the moment EMRs are relatively useless. A lot of money has been spent by all the stakeholders with very limited benefit. There have been hundreds of examples published by all stakeholders about the defects in the present EMRs that do not allow for an increase in the quality of care and a decrease in the cost of care.
The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.
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