Pediatrics Group Endorses EMRs Use As Critical To Medical Homes

Posted on May 9, 2011 I Written By

Katherine Rourke is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

Here’s a refreshing story — the tale a medical group which has officially, formally endorsed digital patient data management. It’s not clear to me how much real-world difference the endorsement will make, but with few medical organizations taking the lead here, it’s still noteworthy.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a statement supporting the use of EMRs and HIT generally, arguing that patient data management is important to the future of pediatric care.   The group contends that HIT is needed to support critical medical home functions, including lifetime tracking of health services for patients, coordination of data between multiple repositories and quality tracking.

Not surprisingly, the AAP also suggested that the federal government should reward its 60,000 members with financial incentives that “appropriately recognize the added value of medical homes to pediatric care.”

From reading the statement, I’m not sure if it means that peds doctors should get standard HITECH incentives, or that they should be paid an additional sum for medical home services.

If the AAP is trying to gin up federal support for getting higher incentive payments, I’m not sure how sympathetic a reception they’ll get from HHS.  But to be fair, the group doesn’t seem to be saying “pay me more or I’l take my bat and go home.”  After all, with the group offering excellent reasons for EMR use, they’re pretty much admitting that EMRs are a must-have even without added cash.

At this point, I’m puzzled as to why more medical societies haven’t taken highly-public positions on EMR use. After all, EMRs are the future, and most trade associations are savvy enough to get ahead of trends before they’re steamrolled.  I guess it will take even more pressure to get them off the dime.