But the Obama administration and health professionals say EHRs will “help reduce costs and make health care safer by avoiding such problems as duplicate medical tests and allergic reactions to medications,” Ungar notes. The new health law will pay $20 billion in incentives to eligible doctors and hospitals who make the switch. Thoe who don’t will get smaller Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.
Though touted as a way to improve patient care and supported by federal funding, Kentucky physicians have concerns about switching to electronic medical records. Doctors are worried about cost, lost productivity, the possibility that the technology becomes obsolete and that systems can’t share information, The Courier-Journal‘s Laura Ungar reports.
“The main reason is financial. It’s just so expensive,” Dr. Emily Johnson of Kaplan Barron Pediatric Group, told Ungar. “Also, we’d have to take time out of the day and do training. It would be expensive to learn this new thing.” Johnson’s group plans to stick with its paper-based patient charts (Photo: Rebecca Dorwart, medical receptionist and recordkeeper, by C-J’s Matt Stone)
Last year, a Kentucky Medical Association survey of rural doctors (left) showed 45 percent didn’t have an EHR system, and about half said they had no plans to have one. “The most frequently cited barriers to e-record adoption were lack of initial capital for software and training, concerns about loss of productivity and lack of technical support within the practice,” Ungar reports. (Read more)