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The EHR holdouts

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This piece in  discusses why some physicians don’t use electronic health records. One example is Michael Ciampi, M.D., a family practitioner in Portland, Maine, who says he doesn’t have anything against technology but says that  when he tried EHRs several years ago:

“{W}e found was a system that just wasn’t patient-centered.The primary function was to enhance billing, not to build a physician-patient relationship. Our productivity went down 25 percent.”

So he went back to paper, joining the  fifth of doctors don’t have an electronic health record system, commonly called an EHR, in their offices. But then,  only 34 percent of doctors surveyed by the American Medical Association said  that they liked their electronic systems.

A new challenge is that the federal financial incentive program to encourage clinicians to adopt EHRs will be phased out by the end of  this year.

And, as the Governing piece notes, “For a five-physician clinic, the initial cost to implement an EHR is around $162,000. Additional maintenance expenses in the first year can be around $85,000.”

Further, “rural physicians often have trouble getting IT support and access to high-speed broadband, which is necessary to run an EHR properly.”

Readers might enjoy the Rube Goldberg movie short Something for Nothing about the ambiguous charms of technology. Sometimes it’s technology for the sake of technology.


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