The debate over electronic medical records is best kept simple. No one disputes the benefits. Benchmarking, data collection, quality analysis and improvement, reduction of duplicative tests, better communication, less chance for medical errors, etc.
The problem for small practices in a capitalist economy is cost, cost, cost.
Medicine is practiced in the community. So private practice economic concerns must be addressed, because it is a business. And to date, most EMRs do not have a good return on investment. If the practice cannot get a true ROI, then the business will be shut down. We do not practice in a socialist society where someone else will subsidize my losses. I do not need to bore everyone with the litany of financial constraints that small practices have. So in the meantime, until EMRs are cost effective to the person who buys it, they should not tout pseudo-ROI benefits, just clinical benefits.
Ashish Sitapara, M.D.
Instructor in medicine
Harvard Medical School
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