Physicians Voice Dissatisfaction With EHRs During AMA Town Hall

July 21, 2015 in News

On Monday, the American Medical Association hosted a town hall where physicians voiced their dissatisfaction with electronic health records and called on policymakers and the Obama administration to delay Stage 3 of the meaningful use program, HealthLeaders Media reports.

Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHRs can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

According to HealthLeaders Media, the meeting was held as part of AMA’s new “Break the Red Tape” initiative, which seeks to postpone the finalization of meaningful use Stage 3 rules (Weiner, HealthLeaders Media, 7/21).

AMA President Steven Stack said Stage 3 should be delayed so that it can be aligned with other federal government programs (Walsh, Clinical Innovation Technology, 7/20).

Town Hall Details

According to Health Data Management, AMA held the town hall meeting to give providers a platform to voice their concerns about EHRs.

Stack said, “We have a technology that brings graduate degree-educated people to their knees,” noting that while 80% of physicians use EHRs, use of the technology often “blunt[s] their efficiency, diminish[es] their effectiveness and get[s] between them and their patients.”

During the meeting, several physicians recounted the difficulties they have faced when using EHRs (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 7/21).

Physicians expressed concerns about:

  • Costs (Clinical Innovation Technology, 7/20);
  • Interoperability;
  • Government regulation;
  • Reduced productivity; and
  • Health data security.

However, some providers acknowledged that EHRs in some cases have benefited their organizations.

In an interview before the meeting, Bill Bria — executive vice president of medical informatics and patient safety at the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives — said EHRs can offer “complete patient information, right there, whenever you need it, wherever you need it” (HealthLeaders Media, 7/21).

Still, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) said the stories about providers’ negative experiences with EHRs and the meaningful use program should underscore the need to “move in a much better direction,” adding, “Time is running very, very short” (Clinical Innovation Technology, 7/20).

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