The Growing EMR Tea Party

I wrote a post a few months ago asking if meaningful use will put medicare in a bad position. In that post, Dr. Borges makes an argument for why meaningful use is going to have a negative impact on Medicare. In the comments, David Swink offered this additional comment about what he calls the EMR Tea Party:

I agree with Dr. Borges. He, and many other physicians of like mind, compose the EMR Tea Party — those who do not object to the modernization of record-keeping, but do object to the top-down “carrot-becomes-the-stick” approach to EMR that is being foisted on them. He is a medical John Galt (of Atlas Shrugged), who is more likely to retire or otherwise deny his talents as a “Giver” to society than to succumb to the diktats of the “Takers”.

The idea of a physician EMR Tea Party is quite interesting. I have seen a number of doctors like Dr. Borges that are leaving Medicare to avoid the meaningful use requirements. I’ve also seen that pretty much every doctor I’ve ever talked to would love to stop taking Medicare. However, I’ve also seen that a large majority of doctors don’t have that option because so much of their patient population is on Medicare. Plus, some percentage of those doctors don’t want to leave Medicare patients high and dry.

With this in mind, I’m not quite seeing the leave Medicare Tea Party getting that much momentum. However, I am seeing an EMR Tea Party that is swelling among doctors that want their EMR software to improve productivity, improve patient care, and allow them to be doctors instead of data entry clerks. This growing movement is much more powerful.

Meaningful use has a major impact (mostly negatively) on these desired EMR results. You might remember my post on the EHR Certification excuse as an example. I think this is also a reason why we have yet to see any private payers requiring EHR certification or meaningful use. They don’t want to anger doctors by requiring them to do many things which are unnatural to their current workflow and provide little value to the payer.

The real question is how big will this EMR Tea Party get over time. Not to mention, as more hospitals acquire ambulatory practices, will doctors have the influence they need to affect these changes?