Tension on Government Subsidized Electronic Medical Records; Comments from Verona’s Epic Systems

Steve Lohr:

The administration’s initiative takes on particular significance because this year is when the government begins spending billions of dollars to accelerate the adoption of computerized patient records.
The incentive payments, typically as much as $44,000 a physician, begin this year. But those payments require doctors to make “meaningful use” of “certified” electronic health records. The payments are staggered over five years, and to get the money physicians must use the technology for increasingly extensive record-keeping and reporting. The administration has not said whether a usability standard will be in the next stage of requirements, due by early next year.

The government says it is committed to working with technology companies, medical professionals and academics, to adopt the best approach. Yet common ground has been elusive so far.

At a meeting last month at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md., Janet Campbell, a software developer at Epic Systems, a supplier of electronic health records, expressed the industry’s concerns. Doctors are discriminating consumers, she said, and companies like hers work on improving their products in the marketplace every day.

the Government should NOT be using our tax dollars to subsidize health care automation. This approach never works.