I drank the kool-aid early. We installed our first EHR in 1996 with me doing the lion’s share of pushing and pulling. While I’d ultimately turn my back on this passion, I had a number of notable accomplishments before walking down my Damascus road.
- Within a year of implementation, our practice became one of the top installations for our vendor.
- Within 2 years I was elected to the board of our user group.
- Within 4 years I was president.
- In 2003, our practice was recognized by HIMSS as one of the top primary care installations of Electronic Records.
- In subsequent years I lectured around the country (for HIMSS) extolling the benefits of EHR for both quality and efficiency of care.
- As opposed to the experience of other physicians, our practice was not only successful in our implementation, we were in the top 10% in income for our specialty.
- Our quality metrics were also routinely far above national norms.
- In 2012, I was the physician representative for CDC public health grand rounds, discussing the upcoming EHR incentive program: Meaningful Use.
- By 2013, we easily qualified for stage 1 of Meaningful Use, and I happily accepted the financial fruit of my labors.
But the final years were not, as I expected, a triumph. I became increasingly frustrated with the worsening of our EHR by the “features” needed to qualify us for MU1. I also chafed at the way most physicians were meeting this criteria: by abandoning patient-centered care and adopting a data-centered care model. Patients were given useless handouts to summarize “care,” and the data requirement was satisfied. Patient portals gave limited access to information were touted as “patient centered” care, while the product was left unused by most patients, but the data requirement was satisfied.