Friday, January 28, 2011

Benefits From EHR or P4P?

Two recent articles add fuel to skepticism about two ObamaCare initiatives -- EHRs (electronic health records) and P4P (pay for performance).

How much do Electronic Health Records (EHRs) help patient care?

According to this article, not much: "Electronic Health Records and Clinical Decision Support Systems" (By Max J. Romano, BA; Randall S. Stafford, MD, PhD, Arch Intern Med. Published online January 24, 2011.)

EHRs may not help patients. But they will be used by the government to determine if doctors are complying with government practice standards.

(Via @MatthewBowdish.)

How about P4P ("Pay for performance") incentives? Those are another big part of planned savings under ObamaCare.

According to "Effect of pay for performance on the management and outcomes of hypertension in the United Kingdom: interrupted time series study", the answer is "no". (By Serumaga et al, BMJ 2011; 2011; 342:d108; 25 January 2011)

(Related article: "Financial Rewards for a Doctor’s Care", New York Times, 1/26/2011.)

Surprise -- when the government tells doctors how to practice and makes them jump through hoops, rather than letting them use their own training and judgment, it does not improve patient care!