The American Medical Association is set to decide policy on a physician's obligations in the event of a computer security breach, whether the federal incentives and subsidies to buy electronic health records constituted a pay-for-performance scheme, and several other information technology issues over the next three days at its annual House of Delegates meeting being held in Chicago.
Split into eight reference committees, delegates on Sunday considered more than 200 reports and resolutions including one on supporting the use of open-source software and others on opposing penalizing physicians who don't use IT.
The reference committees will draft reports on each item and include recommendations to either support, oppose, support or oppose with amendments, or refer them back to the board of trustees for further study. The recommendations will then be voted on by the 500-plus members of the entire House of Delegates over the next three days.
While some delegates expressed appreciation for the incentives and subsidies to implement EHRs found in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, St. Petersburg, Fla.-based neurosurgeon David McKalip noted that there are penalties that kick in if a physician is not using electronic prescribing by 2015.
"I cannot afford this in my practice," McKalip said. "This is a pay-for-performance issueyou get money if you do what you're told."
North Miami Beach family physician Bernd Wollschlaeger said he objected to the penalty, but that "incentives do work," and noted that he has had an EHR for 12 years and its upkeep only amounts to 4.5% of his operating budget.
But Marcy Zwelling-Aamot, an internist with a concierge practice in Los Alamitos, Calif., said that she is a 10-year user of EHRs and offered a different view. "They stink!" Zwelling-Aamot said, explaining that they slow her work flow while eroding her patients privacy.