Physician EMR adoption…. or lack thereof

@john_chilmark  When I held an impromptu “meeting” of my peers at a large medical center we were trying to determine if there was any interest in joining forces to roll out a common EMR platform.  Benefits being interoperability, possible cost reductions, etc.  What came out of the “meeting” was a resounding push back against the administration’s desire to get us onto an EMR platform in the *foreseeable* future. 

Reasons quoted were the usual…. cost, lack of ROI, decrease in patient flow during roll-out, docs who are not tech savvy being scared silly; and perhaps most important, lack of an EMR platform built around the physician and the way he or she thinks/works. 

Physicians do not want to bear the entire financial burden of an EMR roll out.  They do not trust the admin to provide funding and they are not sure they will meet the meaningful use criteria, which have yet to be set.  Can you blame them?  Many docs are having significant difficulty making ends meet.  Family practice offices are closing or banding together to try and remain viable.  Health care “reform” is coming down the pike and no one knows what that will *look* like or what impact that will have on their already challenged finances.   Hospital funding is drying up and the likelihood that they will adopt of a platform over the next few years is quite slim.  State income taxes are rising, federal taxes are rising and sitting out there is a potential huge cut in medicare reimbursement.   

Can you blame the docs for being cautious about adopting a technology with very few proven upsides, significant costs, significant (albeit *temporary*) work flow disruptions and no promise that anyone will follow through and make the system computable, interoperable and compatible with MCOs, govt and institutional platforms.  

Should physicians purchase the available intermediary “silo” based or tethered systems and sit back and wait to see if the industry catches up?

The lack of enthusiasm on the part of the physician makes sense to me.


About hjluks

A busy Academic Orthopedic Surgeon, Digital Strategist, Chief Medical Officer and father... intently and efficiently navigating the intersection of Social Media and Health Care.
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2 Responses to Physician EMR adoption…. or lack thereof

  1. Jen McCabe says:

    Howard – scariest part is your final sentence…”The lack of enthusiasm on the part of the physician makes sense to me.” In full agreement. Purchasing an intermediary EMR/EHR system that goes for between 10 and 50 grand purchase price, not to mention the time and money you’ll spend on training and integration, means right now the health record transition game is a losing battle. But that won’t last forever. There are people working on doc and patient friendly tech. Myca is a great example.My biggest worry isn’t a nebulous lack of hope in the current offerings – rather it’s that established docs will wave the white flag too early if a federal requirement for integration of a siloed system (or CCHIT approved systems) goes into effect via HITECH or other legislation. Then I’m afraid we’ll have to helplessly watch the brain drain of experienced docs getting out before the reqs go into effect, and we’ll see practices in rural, primary care areas in particular go out of business as younger docs won’t want to fill those spots.

  2. Howard Luks says:

    Thanks Jen. In return, I agree with you too! If the govt does not execute well the docs will pay the HITECH fines and run for the doors. I also fear that CCHIT will hinder the roll out the newer, more sophisticated *Myca like* platforms that could potentially get the EMR adoption curve heading in the right direction.

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