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Monday, May 18, 2009

Electronic Medical Records, tool to save health care costs or windfall for the tool makers

One of the package of health care "reforms" that will increase quality, provide care for all and save money is the widespread implementation of electronic medical records (EMR). The other major elements are comparative effectiveness research and preventive medicine.

Here is one economist's take on one aspect of the EMR issue.As much as
"change" was heralded as a major characteristic of the new administration it appears that some things change very little.Lobbyists still stalk the halls of government and sometimes score big.

Whether the massive savings alleged by the proponents of the health care reform will accrue from EMRs or not will have to be seen in time. We do not have to wait to see how certain purveyors of these systems will make out. See here for a Washington Post article on the efforts,some of which have been years in the making, to cash in on the federal outlay of

See a detailed discussion of this special interest issue as well as concerns about the safety of this rush to implementation of EMR by one expert on this subject at Health Care Renewal.


Anonymous said...

The "follow the money" rule works almost every time.

Ellen Kimball said...

Worked briefly in the early 1990s for a company (MedAccess Corporation) in Lexington, Massachusetts that was trying to get doctors to use electronic medical records. The biggest hurdle then was getting older doctors to just learn to type into a computer notebook! How quaint!

There were several computer programs available then. I saw them all at a trade show in San Antonio. I think it was the HMMS group -- hospital medical IT administrators -- who were our target market.

I'm sure there are different hurdles now, and I agree that there is money to be made in this area. Now I see the younger doctors using computers at Kaiser Permanente where my husband and I are HMO members in their Senior Advantage plan. Issues of privacy and medical records gone astray, as well as a harrowing overprescription of a medication for A WHOLE YEAR due to neglect on the part of a primary doctor and pharmacy in my own case -- are what I see as a hurried system with little or no safeguards, despite KPs protestations.

MedAccess Corporation used up its venture capital and is no longer in business. Some caches of their journey are still archived on the Internet.

Warm regards,