In response to Joseph Conn's "CMS' proposed rule to eliminate e-prescribed faxes":
Health IT Strategist reported that the CMS has proposed a rule to eliminate electronic medical record-based e-prescribing faxing solutions because "the pharmacy incurs the administrative cost of keying the prescription into the pharmacy system."
This mandate is yet another bullet into the chest of private-practice physicians, who are struggling to meet the information technology mandates of the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology and the CMS.
By forcing all EMRs to remove cost-effective and highly functional e-prescribing faxing solutions in favor of Web-based e-prescribing, EMRs will become more expensive and private-practice physicians will have to pay the price. Further, these Web-based e-prescribing solutions can require that the EMR developer give up control of the user interface to the Web-based e-prescribing program, and are thus disruptive to the physician's workflow patterns.
Originally, it was the intent of the health IT movement to improve efficiency in healthcare. Now, the short-term goal of CCHIT-sponsored health IT appears to be to save money for the insurers, the pharmacy benefit management companies and the pharmacies, while accumulating "health data" and protecting the turf of the large EMR companies. The goal of helping the practitioner provide high-quality, cost-effective medical care is now an afterthought.
I believe that the long-term goal of CCHIT is to create a potentially lucrative mega-health IT medical industrial complex, that will be very profitable to those who set the rules that govern EMRs. Further, as I understand it, CCHIT may evolve into a private organization. If the current CCHIT managers become vested in this private organization (they should be barred from doing so) it will then be obvious why this and other rules have been foisted upon the private practitioners.
According to HITS, "the Web site for accepting public comments had not been set up to take comments on the e-prescribing rules." Obviously, CCHIT and the CMS do not want to be side-tracked by the opinion of those who may disagree with them.
The U.S. Senate and House should bring this whole CCHIT/health IT process under a microscope before we have created an entrenched and politically powerful health IT medical industrial complex, and further change becomes politically untenable. Maybe it is already too late.
Hayward Zwerling, M.D.ComChart Medical SoftwareLowell, Mass. To submit a letter to YOUR VIEWS, click here. Please include your name, title and hometown.