Thursday, October 14, 2010

Carrots and Sticks for Electronic Medical Records

The AMA has summarized the various financial carrots and sticks that the government will wield against doctors to get them to adopt electronic medical records (EMRs, also known as EHR for "electronic health records").

The laws require "meaningful use", to prevent doctors from buying the machinery but just letting it sit on the shelf. Initially, the inducements are in the form of carrots (rewards), but later they turn into sticks (penalties):

These EMRs will be used to track physician compliance with "practice guidelines".

When Big Brother watches your doctor and decides whether or not your doctor will get paid, it could lead to a chilling effect on physicians' ability to use their best independent judgment.