The Washington Post article below documents one doctor’s experience with federally mandated electronic health care records.

The story is familiar, as I’ve heard it myself from doctors. Doctors always had to spend time filling out insurance forms, but now it is so much worse. To comply with federal Medicaid and Medicare regulations (plus new Obamacare regs) not only means having the staff to comply (hence, doctors moving to larger practice groups or hospital-affiliated groups), but also more and more time spent trying to comply with electronic medical records requirements.

Read the full tale below. It’s how we are destroying medicine one form at a time. Here’s the punch line:

When I get back to the office, I turn on the computer to write a progress note in Mr. Edgars’s electronic health record, or EHR. In addition to recording the details of our visit, I must try to meet the new federal criteria for “meaningful use,” [explanation here] criteria that have been adopted by my office with threats that I won’t get paid for my work if I don’t….

I spent more time checking boxes than talking to patients and their families.

I could see twice as many patients if I could write their notes at the bedside while visiting with them. I would happily do this on paper or using an EHR that created a logical note within the same amount of time. But that is not an option.

The reality is that I spend more time talking to the Information Technology people about Internet connections, firewalls and box-checking than I do answering messages from concerned family members.

As a teaching doctor, my feedback to the residents now consists mainly of explaining how to document their visits so that we will all get paid, instead of teaching them how to take care of frail elders in their homes.

It’s professional death by a thousand forms.

(Featured Image source: CMS)


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