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Thursday, September 19, 2013

At PJM, Dr. Paul Hsieh has an excellent article on electronic medical records

Read the whole thing.  Excerpts:

EMRs are a “dirty word” to many doctors because EMRs are cumbersome, hinder doctors’ ability to practice, and are too expensive.

In the New York Times, Dr. Pauline Chen described how EMRs are impairing doctors’ ability to interact with patients. Many young doctors in training are so busy filling out obligatory electronic forms, they are now spending only 8 minutes per patient each day. As a result, they cut corners:
When finally in a room with patients, they try to [rush through interviews] by limiting or eliminating altogether gestures like sitting down to talk, posing open-ended questions, encouraging family discussions or even fully introducing themselves.
EMRs are not inherently bad. A well-designed EMR can add tremendous value to many medical practices. In a free market, doctors and hospitals would gladly purchase EMR systems that made sense for their particular circumstances. Based on their specific requirements, some practices might purchase an EMR and others might not. Over time, the free market would bring down EMR costs and improve their quality. But the choice of whether and when to purchase an EMR should be left up to each individual hospital and medical practice. It’s not the government’s role to pressure medical practices into adopting EMRs any more than it’s the government’s job to tell everyone that they should purchase a smartphone.

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