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Meaningfully Use EHR or Lose Your Medical License

Posted on June 11, 2013 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.

The premise of this article just disgusts me. I must admit that I remembered the discussion of tying medical licenses to EHR adoption, but I’d forgotten that Massachusetts actually passed the EHR requirement law. The topic was again ignited by Hayward K Zwerling, MD in this Health Care Blog post. Here’s the Massachusetts law that he sites:

The relevant law is Section 108 of Chapter 224 of the Acts of 2012, which reads as follows:
The first paragraph of section 2 of chapter 112 of the General Laws … is hereby amended by inserting (the following)… The board (of Registration in Medicine) shall require, as a standard of eligibility for (medical) licensure, that applicants demonstrate proficiency in the use of computerized physician order entry, e- prescribing, electronic health records and other forms of health information technology, as determined by the board. As used in this section, proficiency, at a minimum shall mean that applicants demonstrate the skills to comply with the “meaningful use” requirements (1).

This law, if it remains, would mean that effective 2015 any physician who isn’t a meaningful user of a certified EHR will be denied a license to practice medicine. That means 50-75% of Massachusetts doctors would lose their license to practice medicine. That’s a huge number of doctors. Can you imagine the impact?

Plus, it’s not like Massachusetts is lagging behind the rest of the country in EHR adoption. In fact, Massachusetts is one of the states with the best EHR adoption. I’m really just dumb founded that someone would be willing to propose, let along pass a law like this.

Don’t get me wrong on this. You won’t find someone that’s more interested in seeing widespread EHR adoption. I think there are tremendous benefits waiting for us once we achieve widespread EHR adoption. I just think you’re insane to think that holding physician’s licenses over their heads is the right way to do it. The very worst way to get doctors to adopt EHR is through coercion.

My gut tells me that there’s no way this law will actually go into effect. Something will have to change between now and 2015. Maybe that was the goal of the legislation. Scare people enough so that they adopt EHR and then repeal the law. That’s a terrible tactic if it’s the case. That’s a strategy that leads to even more EHR switching.

Adopt an EHR or Lose Your Medical License

Posted on May 5, 2011 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 glancing through my draft posts today and found this article by Neil Versel, now blogging at Meaningful Healthcare IT News, about State Medical Boards considering making EHR user a condition of medical licensor. That’s right. To renew your medical license using an EHR could be part of the clinical competence test.

On face value, it’s a kind of crazy idea to consider. Although, couple that with a post on EMR Thoughts that talks about a Doctor Quiting His Practice Over EHR Use. Makes you think for a second the value of EHR knowledge for a doctor practicing medicine.

Turns out that Massachusetts has already put this requirement in place starting in 2015. Here’s a quote about that doctor that closed his practice thanks to his inability to use the EHR.

Like all Massachusetts doctors, the physician also was required to comply with the state’s Section 305 law. It mandates that physicians demonstrate competency in EHR use by 2015 to maintain licensure.

I must admit that this is a hard pill to swallow for me. Do we really need to make this a requirement? Does making it a requirement add any value? In Massachusetts it says they’re using CME’s to show a person’s EHR proficiency. A really powerful measure of proficiency < end sarcasm font>. Therein lies the problem. How do you measure EHR proficiency?

Although, the doctor leaving the practice, which is an issue in itself, also illustrates why EHR proficiency shouldn’t be a requirement for a medical license. In the not so distant future, it will be hard to practice medicine without EHR proficiency whether the medical boards require EHR knowledge or not.