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TECHNOLOGY: Road Map to a Digital System of Health Records

Otherwise known as Blackford Middleton wants to take your money!

The NY Times reports on the latest reports to Brailer about how to create inter-operability in the brave new world of health records. I’m somewhat hopeful but I’m not holding my breath.Partners in Boston lead by ex-Stanford and Medicalogic geek Blackford Middleton) has an updated version of its report that I featured in THCB late last year which basically says that if you implement a full EMR, you should end up spending less money because you’ll do things right the first time, and prescribe cheaper drugs. Another Stanford Prof, Lauren Baker poo-poohs some of the Harvard group’s assumptions about whether there are real savings.

Meanwhile, the Center for Information Technology Leadership (a think-tank a

I can’t really comment yet because this is all coming out in Health Affairs tomorrow and though the NY Times is on their "see it early" list, THCB is not. But Lauren understands well that the health care system can take illusory savings and spend them many times over. And Blackford knows that his work is designed to be provocative, in that most of the savings are for drugs not dispensed that the average clinician isn’t paying for now and therefore won’t accrue any savings from when they stop prescribing them.

More on all this tomorrow, when hopefully I’ve had a chance to look at the articles. (I’ll be on a plane so don’t expect an early update).

Meanwhile all this depends on the typical American physician deciding to go for the EMR prize. And everyone’s favorite medical blogger, Sydney at Medpundit, has decided to do just that. I really hope that she keeps writing about it, because its her experience (and that of docs like her rather than that of the Permanente or Partners’ docs) that will determine the speed of this transformation.

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