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Why EMR Is A Dirty Word To Many Doctors

Fri, 02/03/2012 - 4:53am
Adam Sharp, MD

Don’t get me wrong, EMRs (electronic medical records) are inevitable. Over the long-run they are almost certainly good for physicians, patients and the healthcare industry.

However, their origin and the ulterior motives currently driving their adoption is sowing the seeds of their failure.  First, what is actually happening out there?  The most recent CDC data would seem to be encouraging for EMR adoption, with EMR use (finally) passing 50 percent.

Too bad there is more to the story.

If you look at adoption rates for so called “fully functional EMRs,” the adoption rate remains in the low teens (full data for 2011 is not yet available).  So why is there an almost 4-fold discrepancy between “any EMR” and “fully functional EMR”?  If EMRs are so great, why does the government have to essentially “bribe” physicians to adopt them through incentives such as the meaningful use incentive program? Why is this so important to them that they didn’t even wait for the healthcare affordability act to implement this “incentive”? (They put it in the stimulus package after Obama had only been in office a few months.)

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