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Even with Incentives, Docs May Forgo EHR Adoption

Yes, hospitals will adopt and meet meaningful use requirements as the future CMS penalties will simply be too painful to do otherwise.  Private practices, however, may just forgo adoption and decide to not serve CMS (Medicare/Medicaid) patients.  It remains to be seen what direction this will take but as I stated in a recent keynote at the PatientKeeper User Conference, the focus of EHRs and their successful deployment, adoption and use needs to be based on what is the value that is delivered to the end user, the physician/clinician.  For too long and even today, all the grand talk of EHRs and adoption thereof focuses on the broader public good.  Yes, there will be a broader public good but if we don’t get back to focusing on delivering true, meaningful value to the end user all this talk, incentives and promotion will fall on deaf ears and many a tax dollar will be wasted.

As an aside, we have stated before on this site, the consumer/citizen may play an important role in the future.  As the first comment in response to this Boston Globe article this week puts it, he/she would not go to a doctor that did not have an EHR in place.  This is something that the digital natives of this nation who are beginning to get married and settle down with families of their own will increasingly demand. EHR adoption will come, the question is how fast and what will be the forcing functions.  Right now, just not convinced that HITECH Act $$$ will do it at the practice level.

And just by way of example regarding those youthful digital natives, my 25yr old son found both his doctor and dentist via the online user community Yelp. He’s quite happy with both.

John Moore is an IT Analyst at Chilmark Research, where this post was first published.

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VishalLarry McKnight, MDBart de Wittedoc kfojustine Recent comment authors
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Vishal
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Vishal

Very interesting. I agree with you partially. Found a blog which talks on the similar lines.
I think some solutions to the challenges posed over here are going to shape the future of EHR adoption in US healthcare industry.

Larry McKnight, MD
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Larry McKnight, MD

“Practices get paid by throughput, how many patients are seen in a given day…” That’s right! EMR’s don’t address increasing the throughput. But, on the other hand, if a physician can see a patient quickly, write almost nothing down, do almost nothing for the patient and it is very hard to beat that efficiency. It says nothing about the quality of care they deliver. If that physician really was verifying meds on every visit, really did check for drug-drug interactions, really did measure statistics how he was doing so that he could improve his quality, then I’m sure the point… Read more »

Bart de Witte
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Dear John, What a great summary and it so aligned with what I always evangelize our market, don’t talk about tools, but bring solutions that generate instant value. As long as there is no value creation there won’t be adoption of EHRs. Creating financial incentives without solving the productivity dilemma is no long term option. Even when digital natives become families, there won’t be adoption, unless patients privately pay for there services. Perhaps context aware systems and a deeper integration of diagnostical tools into to the clinical information and decision workflow can influence productivity, but it still won’t drive adoption… Read more »

doc kfo
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doc kfo

The problem with the current EHR situatuion is that we will all have different software programs that don’t have the capacity to communicate with eachother. So nothing will improve, there will be no ease of data collection. Doctors costs will be higher and there visits less personal. Instead of offering an incentive carrot, the government should spend 1/10 of the money and develop a GREAT EHR system and then give it to doctors for free!! Then there is one system we all use. Everybody wins and the government doesn’t waste a bunch of money on a plan that is great… Read more »

justine
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justine

Hi johnnie at Chilmark,
Best advice Do not buy, Do not buy, Do not buy, Do not buy, Do not buy.

primary care doc
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primary care doc

Good products sell themselves. Bad products are subsidized and mandated.