An article in Sunday’s New York Times, noted that to date there has been little demonstration of improvement in care or decrease in costs associated with the implementation of electronic medical records. The article does a good job of making a point about why this may be the case.
Simply put, not all hospitals that have implemented the new records have used them to their full extent. Any policy that is going to pour money into additional implementation of electronic medical records will not necessarily solve this problem. It is suggested at the close of the article, that a policy to encourage the implementation of such records should focus on providing incentives to make full use of such records. A key question is how to provide such incentives and whether policies can be used to provide such incentives.
Another reason for a lack of change may be that making any change when care is already “pretty good” is going to require a significant amount of resources. For example, the article points out that “In the heart failure category, for example, the hospitals with advanced electronic records met best-practice standards 87.8 percent of the time; those with basic computer records, 86.7 percent; and those without, 85.9 percent”. In short, while we would certainly like everyone to be at the highest quality standards, if the hospitals using no electronic medical records are already meeting best practice standards 86% of the time, there is not that much room for improvement.
Perhaps without a wholesale, system-wide improvement in the use of electronic medical records throughout the system, any change will be only marginal.
Lemon Zest, Turkish Apricot Scones
2 years ago