The electronic-medical-records wreck

In June, the Annals of Emergency Medicine published a study warning that the “rush to capitalize on the huge federal investment of $30 billion for the adoption of electronic medical records led to some unfortunate and unintended consequences” tied to “communication failure, poor data display, wrong order/wrong patient errors and alert fatigue.”

Also this summer, Massachusetts reported that 60 percent of doctors could not meet the EMR mandate and will face the potential loss of their licenses in 2015. And a few weeks ago, the American College of Physicians pleaded with the feds to delay the mandate’s data collection, certification, and reporting requirements.

Dr. Hayward K. Zwerling, an internal-medicine physician in Massachusetts who is also president of ComChart Medical Software, blasted the Obamacare EMR mandate in a recent open letter: “As the developer of an EMR, I sincerely believe that a well-designed EMR is a useful tool for many practices. However, the federal and state government’s misguided obsession to stipulate which features must be in the EMRs, and how the physician should use the EMRs in the exam room, places the politicians in the middle of the exam room between the patient and the physician, and seriously disrupts the physician-patient relationship.”