PHYSICIANS/TECH: The intransigence of the AMA knows no bounds

Here’s what I wrote for FierceHealthcare today.

Attendees at the 22nd annual TEPR meeting could be forgiven for being a little anxious about the future. Conference organizer and Medical Records Institute Peter Waegemann put out a call for action, noting that at the first conference some speakers thought electronic medical records would be here within three years, then ten, and now more than twenty years later we’re still arguing about different standards. The keynote from AMA secretary Joseph Heyman showed where the problems lie. Although Heyman is a solo practitioner who runs a paperless office and has been using EMRs since 2001, he trumpeted his organization’s party line—No cuts in Medicare, or risk that doctors will stop taking patients. Great suspicion of pay for performance. Opposition to mandates to use technology. Demands for straight payment to acquire and use technology. Apparently the medical world has gone to hell and it’s anyone but the AMA’s fault, so apparently we shouldn’t expect doctors to save the health care system by using IT, unless it comes at no cost and inconvenince to them.

I’ll be back with a little more, and some much harsher words later.

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