In response to Andis Robeznieks' "Vendors dispute EHR, ambulatory-care report":
It is clear that Steele has never purchased, used or performed data entry into an electronic health record.
First, his comment that data entry in large companies is performed by the cashiers, the bank tellers and clerks is true. This would be quite analogous to the front office staff and office manager's duties. They do far more data entry into an EHR than the physician, such as patient demographics, laboratory reports, X-ray reports, prescription information, patient history, etc. I would assume the "highly compensated corporate executives" he refers to will, at times, rely on their own computers and do a fair amount of data entry of sensitive material, similar to sensitive patient information, i.e., the clinical exam.
Second, his comment that physicians make "comparable salaries" to the corporate executive salary of $250,000 is laughable. As a primary-care physician, if I approach half that number, I'm having a very good year!
Third, his comment on salary cuts is just not true. My office's billing accuracy has greatly improved, increasing my bottom line. We are saving approximately $30,000 a year on transcription costs alone. I leave my office an average of 30 minutes earlier each night.
Fourth, the costs of purchasing an EHR for a small primary-care practice of two to five doctors is grossly overstated from old data. Our CCHIT-certified EHR cost one-third less than his estimates and our monthly maintenance fee is $285.
Lastly, EHR implementation is not complex, but it is time-consumingtime well-spent.
We need to start seeing the EHR as less of an established end and more as a means to transformation.
Although Steele extensively quotes from Medical Group Management Association studies, William Jessee, M.D., president and chief executive officer of the MGMA stated in a public letter to Mark Leavitt, M.D., chairman of the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology: "As the healthcare industry actively continues its work to achieve the president's goal of wide-scale adoption of interoperable EHR, MGMA looks forward to continuing our work with CCHIT and our support of the certification process."
Unfortunatley, Mr. Steele's attitude is just another example of "irrational resistance."
Finally, as Micky Tripathi, CEO of Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative has said, "IT won't solve the healthcare problem, but you can't solve the problem without IT."
Al Puerini, M.D.Family Health & Sports MedicineCranston, R.I. To submit a letter to YOUR VIEWS, click here. Please include your name, title and hometown.