At a town hall meeting last night in Atlanta hosted by the American Medical Association, physicians expressed widespread discontent with electronic health records and the federal governments Meaningful Use program.
As the nations largest physician organization, AMA held the meeting to give voice to provider dissatisfaction with EHRs and to encourage doctors to share their experiences with EHR technology. A parade of physicians told the group their horror stories with EHR implementation.
We have a technology that brings graduate degree-educated people to their knees. Theres something not right here, said AMAs President Steven J. Stack, M.D. Despite the fact that more than 80 percent of U.S. physicians use EHRs, Stack commented that too often these tools blunt their efficiency, diminish their effectiveness, and get between them and their patients.
Also See: AMA Wants EHR Designs Overhauled
According to Stacks own experience as an emergency physician, EHRs have negatively impacted clinical workflowa contention supported by a show of hands at the town hall meeting. In addition, Stack made the case that EHRs today are not interoperable and dont talk to each other, creating digital silos.
He asserted that AMA is committed to ensure that our patients needs and the physicians needs who serve them are a higher priority than meeting bloated federal regulations. The groups goal is to promote EHR interoperability, improve usability, and increase patient engagement.
Stack criticized the Meaningful Use program for proposing new requirements and new stages without making good use of our current knowledge about what is working and what is not. As part of its Break the Red Tape campaign, AMA is calling on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to postpone finalizing Stage 3 Meaningful Use rules so that it can align with new payment/delivery models.
Meaningful useit sounds wonderful. The problem is that it oftentimes is inconsistent with the product and the work thats required. And, in this instance, I believe were on the path to an un-meaningful and oftentimes useless product, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), M.D., told the physician meeting.
Price argued that one of the major problems with EHRs is that they are removing the science from medicine by asking doctors to check certain boxes and to perform tasks designed by those without the medical experience or firsthand knowledge of the physician-patient relationship that is the key to quality healthcare in our country.
The congressman concluded his remarks telling physicians in attendance that their talents are in taking care of patientsnot in collecting dataand that is where their focus should be.
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