Count me unconvinced that computerized records will be the savior of medicine. It's just managed care in another guiseHuh. That's an interesting take, I suppose, considering the most recent Health Affairs research on electronic medical records (EMRs):
Effective EMR implementation and networking could eventually save more than $81 billion annually—by improving health care efficiency and safety—and that HIT-enabled prevention and management of chronic disease could eventually double those savings while increasing health and other social benefits.Really though, it just seems totally ridiculous to me to oppose something that will obviously save so much money and greatly improve care on principle.
Medpundit even admits the benefits of health information technology (HIT):
Yes, it's a more efficient method of storing and retrieving information. And yes, it's a method of reducing errors, although it also introduces new system-specific errors. The government's paramount goal in pushing a nationally-connected healthcare record is to be able to monitor and prescribe what kind of treatment everyone gets.A little paranoid, no? If anything it's the insurance companies in doctor's and patient's faces trying to dictate care.
Take my Dad, for example. He broke a bone in his foot. His doctor prescribed a nifty little ultrasound machine that is supposed to stimulate bone growth. He took said nifty machine home with him from the doctor's office and began using it. Three weeks later he gets a letter from the insurance company that this device is not, in fact, covered. Care to take a guess for the cost of this little machine? (It's about 6 inches by 6 inches) $3,000.
No one at the doctor's office mentioned that insurance plans won't cover it. They just gave it to him, and now he owes three grand.
It's one thing to oppose the cost of implementing EMRs and HIT (health information technology) advances, which is why the government is leading the charge (see the VA and recent grants for practices to buy HIT software). I'd like to think things like EMRs could help patients avoid these problems(i.e. the doctor or nurse having a message pop up when they type in a treatment that this patient's insurance does NOT cover this treatment). Of course, if there's only one insurer we take out the guess work.
But simple ideological opposition to HIT exposes a disregard for quality care and selfish concern for the amount of hassle in learning a new system.