A reader disagrees with a previous letter-writer's view that electronic health records benefit medical practices.
This letter expresses concern over the opinion presented by Jay Wolfson, DrPh, JD, in “Costs, control, data access remain top EHR concerns,” (Medical Economics, January 25, 2013.) His view of the medical system is disturbing.
Wolfson says physicians must install electronic health records (EHRs) for the good of medicine. He further argues that intensive performance monitoring, testing, and patient data-sharing is inevitable and necessary, and doesn’t violate privacy. His opinion, although widely held by the government and the EHR industry, is not supported by data.
The last and final straw is the view that it is reasonable for the federal government to say, “Since we’re paying you with Medicare and Medicaid, we need to know as much about what you do as possible so that we can help you ensure that quality outcomes meet reasonable standards. If you don’t, we’re not going to pay.”
Wolfson says that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) EHR system is efficient and interoperable. My colleagues at the VA tell me, however, that due to the complexity and technical problems with their EHR system they can see only 15 patients a day at most. On the interoperability question, did you ever try to get the VA to communicate with your private practice office? They cannot and will not communicate with other physicians.
Wolfson’s dystopian medical vision if realized would destroy quality care and any semblance of the doctor-patient relationship necessary for healthcare to function.
Craig M. Wax, DO
Mullica Hill, New Jersey