Should US doctors embrace electronic health records?BMJ 2017; 356 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j242 (Published 24 January 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j242
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I'm a retired American Psychiatrist who has worked as a volunteer in a "free clinic" for the last eight years. Recently, in response to our Affordable Care Act, the clinic now accepts insurance, and had to be certified to do so - including using Electronic Health Records. While I still enjoy the clinical practice, I am in the process of resigning, primarily because of the EHR. I used a computerized system for scheduling and billing throughout my practice years, but nothing like the EHR systems being discussed here.
George A Gellert's arguments were typical of people in his position. He makes the assumption that the cause of medical errors are mistakes that would be caught by the computer. I would contend that medical errors result from being forced to see too many patients, too rapidly, with too many administrative busy-work tasks increasing daily. He assumes that the EHR is required to insert "science" into medical decisions. Where is his evidence? That's an insult wrapped in sheep's clothing. He speaks of that hypothesis of his as if it's "truth." It's only an unsubstantated belief, backed up by very biased trials that have driven up the cost of medical care, added little of value to patients treatment, and driven at least one US physician to leave practice before my time.
It takes much more time than he suggests, has me looking at a computer screen rather than my patient, and, frankly, I'm personally afraid that I'm going to hurt somebody by using it. I suggest the patients see IT specialists for their medical care and call us if they can think of some way we might be helpful.
Competing interests: No competing interests