EHR Letter Sent to Aneesh Chopra CTO of Obama Administration

Posted on December 8, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I was really intrigued by this letter sent from SRSsoft CEO, Evan Steele, to the CTO of the Obama Administration about the current administration’s EHR direction. Here’s a small excerpt from the letter posted on Health Data Management:

“I am writing to you directly, rather than posting on the FACA blog, because I am deeply concerned that the path the government is taking will inevitably lead to failure. You asked physicians for input and they answered loudly and clearly–traditional EHR technology does not work for them. Their comments are difficult to ignore.

“The government is endorsing the exact technology that has a 50% failure rate. As stated in the blog comments, physicians simply find these EHRs unusable. Of the 60 blog comments on real-world implementation experiences, 57 reported EHR failures and shortcomings–writers documented painful and costly EHR de-installations, or explained the reasons why they would not even try to implement “traditional” EHRs. There is no reason to expect outcomes to be different in the future–vendors have made no significant changes to these products to mitigate the formidable obstacles preventing their adoption. The problems cited are daunting:

* “Physicians will not purchase productivity-decreasing software–particularly now, as they face increasing demand and diminishing reimbursements. They reported productivity losses as high as 40%, and the impact did not diminish over time.

The sad part is that Evan’s letter is likely to fall on deaf ears. First, because Aneesh Chopra probably doesn’t care much about EMR software. Second, a letter from an EMR vendor who wants the rules changed to get better access to the $36.3 billion in EMR stimulus money for his customers is likely to be seen as a political move. Even if Evan is correct with what he’s saying, that doesn’t mean that Aneesh will realize it. Third, is it too late? The HITECH legislation is past. Can HHS really make that much of a difference at this point? Sadly, I don’t think Evan we’ll feel any better 2 years from now when he says, “I told you so.”