Doctors’ Documentation Methods Not Ready for EMR

Posted on February 27, 2010 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.

An interesting link came across my twitter stream tonight that suggested that doctors aren’t ready for electronic medical records. Here’s a short section that basically captures the bloggers point:

Last week, a blog in the Houston Chronicle cited some staggering figures about the Texas Medical Board’s announced disciplinary actions against 70 doctors, 12 of whom were in the Houston area alone.

Of those 12, nine lost their licenses, were financially penalized, or are required to attend training because of their lack of proper medical record keeping. Four actions were specifically related to failed record-keeping practices.

And this isn’t the first time this has happened in Texas by a long shot — in November 2009, 75 actions were taken against physicians, and 28 of those were related to improper record keeping.

Hopefully, Texas will set a precedent and other states will start taking a harder look at this issue, especially with the pending incentives to increase the use of EMR/EHR.

I think this points out what I (and many others) have said previously, however: Simply moving from physical-format records to electronic records is not going to improve the quality of diagnostics and healthcare.

I personally am not convinced that this really matters. In fact, if anything an EMR will expose those doctors who have poor documentation methods. I think that’s a very good thing to have happen. I want them to be exposed and held accountable for their poor documentation. That’s better for the healthcare system as a whole.

One other interesting part of the article was that it said that the “punishment” for some of the above violations was being required to attend a CME training for medical writing. Next up is a CME training for medical writing in an EMR?