Guest Post: The Recent EMR Debate

Posted on June 15, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the 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 and 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 recent increase in the adoption of EMRs due to the Obama administration’s stimulus package has caused a stir within the medical field.  This computerized record technology has already changed the face of American health care, amidst an inner sense of conflict between smaller and larger healthcare centers.  The stimulus package has forced many smaller offices to update their health records because of the government’s overall plan to hasten the implementation of EMRs in order to curb the cost of care nationwide.  While this new implementation has proved to be controversial, its intentions are for the better of society as a whole.

While most healthcare centers already use computerized software to keep their records in order, a lot of smaller companies do not have the necessary funds needed in order to fully implement this system.  Because of the increased demand for this technology, larger companies have acquired larger shares of health information-technology specialists, leaving everyone else to scramble for a share.  This will in turn lead to smaller companies becoming forced to team with larger ones simply to adopt computerized health records because of the overarching cost.  While this was a largely unforeseen consequence of the stimulus package, it is still one that has affected many smaller practices in a large way.

Healthcare should be computerized in general, as it leads to better archival records and an easier way to back everything up.  However, smaller companies should not be forced to update their systems simply because the government has now deemed it necessary to convert to this method.  Many smaller practices are now hurting because of this transition, which is the exact opposite goal of the stimulus package.  The recent technological revolution has been ongoing since the beginning of the twentieth century, ushering in an age in which computers are commonplace and do well to be placed within doctor’s offices.  However, the government should take on the expense of implementing these throughout the country rather than forcing small businesses (which it is initially supposed to be protecting) to combine with larger ones simply in order to maintain their revenue.

It seems difficult to argue against a measure that is intended to benefit the whole of society in the end, but for a while, this will drastically alter the finances of many smaller health practices.  In consideration of these smaller centers, we need to discover a way in which we can consolidate health care practice into a technological aspect without causing further expense to an already “strapped” industry.

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