Last week’s EMR Straight Talk, “Government EHR Program: Potentially Harmful Unintended Consequences,” seems to have struck a nerve with readers—based on the number, source, and intensity of the comments. The elevated level of concern is palpable. What I find rewarding is that blogs like EMR Straight Talk are creating a community of physicians who find support for their concerns—concerns that they might have thought were unique to themselves. Several of last week’s comments came from physicians who are not even on our mailing list, which means that their colleagues are sharing the blog, seeking to build support for their beliefs. Most of the comments were submitted by specialist physicians who are getting our message and beginning to speak up about why they do not consider the government’s EHR program relevant for their practices.
Those commenting identified several additional unintended consequences and voiced other concerns, including:
- Dissatisfaction with templates and the utility of the notes they generate;
- Failure of the government program to consider the needs of providers;
- Effect of traditional EHRs on physician productivity;
- Failure of physician organizations to speak out on behalf of their constituents; and
- Difficulty of finding the right EHR for a practice.
An interesting comment came from Paul Roemer, who directed concerned readers to his post on HealthsystemCIO.com, in which he suggests that the “meaningful use” dates will be pushed back. He maintains: “Washington created a $40 billion lottery and they are having trouble finding anyone able to purchase tickets.” His contention is that very few providers will be ready or able to take advantage of the incentives, including those who already have implemented a traditional, point-and-click EHR.
What do you think the government should do with its program that is clearly meeting significant and vocal resistance—particularly among specialists and other high-volume physicians? Submit your comments below, and let’s keep the conversation going.