Adopt an EHR or Lose Your Medical License

Posted on May 5, 2011 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.

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.