EMR progress is too slow

Patients and providers should be able to securely access a patient’s medical record wherever they are.  Not having a patient’s full record could result in poor treatment choices and suboptimal patient outcomes.  The dream of a seamless, cloud-based electronic medical record (EMR), however, is years away.  Consider the example shared by CMS administrator Seema Verma…

The downside of EHRs

Electronic Health Records can help doctors access the information they need regardless of whether they have treated you before. Setting up integrated health care systems or systems where EHR networks are interoperable can improve this facility across healthcare organizations. However, this approach is not without risks, as shown by this recent hacking episode at Anthem.…

Health IT in Four Countries

How have different countries developed their health IT systems? A paper by Adler-Milstein et. al in Health Affairs provides some insight. I summarize their findings below. Australia. In the 1990s-early 2000s, the government supported the adoption of EHRs through federal incentives to general practitioners. These efforts focused primarily on EHRs with e-prescribing. In 2005 the…

Do EHRs increase “upcoding”?

Upcoding occurs when physician or hospitals artificially increase the patient’s severity of illness. For instance, a hospital may record additional comorbidities. In Medicare’s inpatient prospective payment systems (IPPS), Medicare reimburses hospitals more for caring for patients who are sicker. Some health policy experts worry that electronic health records (EHRs) will decrease the cost of documenting…

Hospital Adoption of EHR

Rising, but penetration is still far below 100%. Courtesy of Health Affairs. Source: Catherine M. DesRoches, Dustin Charles, Michael F. Furukawa, Maulik S. Joshi, Peter Kralovec, Farzad Mostashari, Chantal Worzala and Ashish K. Jha. Adoption Of Electronic Health Records Grows Rapidly, But Fewer Than Half Of US Hospitals Had At Least A Basic System In…

Is EHR a Money Loser for Physicians?

In most cases, the answer is yes. Policymakers, however, have been very excited about EHR and for good reason.  For instance, the  Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, part of the 2009 stimulus package, provided direct dollars to doctors and hospitals who adopt and “meaningfully use” an EHR system. A paper by Milstein, Green…