So last month the nice people from KTVU (the local Fox affiliate in SF) came by to interview me and last night it aired. They’d been over at web-based EMR vendor Practice Fusion and had found out about EMRs. Then they came to interview me. I should probably have got the hint when reporter John Fowler kept on asking me about privacy concerns. I spent 20 minutes giving a balanced nuanced view about the advantages and problems of adopting medical records which is not exactly represented by the 6 second soundbite I get.
Unfortunately—despite the producer’s stated desire to use Bay Area people—Texan nut job Deborah Peel gets almost half the piece including almost all the interview content. (Apparently Deven McGraw couldn’t be tracked down? Maybe DC is too far away) And what does Deb Peel say? Well you know what she says…
The casual viewer seeing this piece would believe that paper records are completely safe and that identified patient records in the Practice Fusion system are being sold to evil marketers and insurers. Oh and by the way that somehow it’s their fault that John Muir Health System lost a computer.
And other than my one sound bite, a very brief mention of a Kaiser study that EMRs improved care and outcomes, and the doctor interviewed saying the EMR saved him time, every single innuendo was about how some big evil was lurking within the electronic records to steal your data and do something terrible to it. Oh, and Practice Fusion was helping with the connivance of stupid or malicious doctors. And apparently Deb Peel has a $5 per person per year solution to the whole problem. Perhaps this is the other shoe dropping and we’ll be hearing from her pimping her product soon. After all Microsoft bit.
This really was crappy journalism. Not least in not challenging Peel on her contention that selling de-identified medical data is somehow new and a “nightmare”—both statements are total crap. Of course research on de-identified records precedes computers by decades, and I’m still waiting for Peel’s spotlight of the case of the de-identified data being re-identified to harm a patient. Of course identified records (mostly on paper) are moved/sold in our health system everyday for purposes I don’t approve of (underwriting).
Nor did Fowler try to distinguish between research on de-identified data versus use of identified data for all kinds of care processes….something Peel also thinks is a nightmare.My wife’s comment was “none of those interviews supported their story other than that one nut job”.
Still our home office looks nice, and the Health 2.0 logo got on TV. So you can watch it here if you can stomach the bullshit that surrounds it.
Categories: Matthew Holt