Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Doctors Hiring Scribes for EMRs

Under ObamaCare, physicians' offices will be required to use government-approved electronic records. (The Department of Health and Human Services even specified what counts as "meaningful use" to prevent physician offices from just purchasing the equipment but not using it.)

But because the EMRs (electronic medical records) make physicians so inefficient, many doctors are responding as one would expect: "Doctors hiring scribes because of electronic medical records".

Here's an excerpt:
...[I]t's rather difficult to tend to the computer when you’re supposed to be tending to the patient. It's relatively easy to write with pen and paper while listening and explaining. It's far harder to keep two hands on a keyboard, a third hand on the mouse, one eye on the screen and another eye on the patient and his family.

And the fact that most EMRs and user interfaces are designed by computer geeks with no knowledge of clinical care or workflow certainly doesn't help matters. As soon as EMRs are deployed, physician productivity typically goes down by about 50%. It rarely gets back to where it was prior to installation.
(Read the full text of "Doctors hiring scribes because of electronic medical records".)

So rather than saving money, mandatory EHRs will increase costs, decrease physician productivity, and increase patient waits. This is another lose-lose for both patients and doctors under ObamaCare.