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Ease Up – Managing Editor Bob Mitchell

By Darrell K. Pruitt; DDS

[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=doctors+computers&iid=131173″ src=”0127/4caf5e52-a89a-4ddb-a0b2-bf4b6789c92b.jpg?adImageId=11344576&imageId=131173″ width=”414″ height=”413″ /]

Two days ago, ADVANCE for Health Information Executives’ managing editor Bob Mitchell publicly criticized the author of last week’s Parade Magazine article, “Electronic Health Records Face Critics.” Personally, I thought it was cowardly for the editor to accuse Drew Jubera of journalistic recklessness without mentioning his name.

http://community.advanceweb.com/blogs/hx_1/archive/2010/03/16/critics-ehrs-don-t-save-money.aspx

According to Jubera

Jubera wrote:

“A new Harvard Medical School study suggests that electronic health records do not save hospitals money—and in fact often end up increasing costs. The Obama Administration has allocated $19 billion in federal stimulus funds to facilitate the shift from paper to electronic records – a move the Rand Corporation has projected could save up to $80 billion a year. Yet the Harvard study found no evidence of savings so far and little evidence that electronic records improve care.”

http://www.parade.com/news/intelligence-report/archive/100314-electronic-health-records-face-critics.html

Dis-Respects Harvard

Incredibly, Bob Mitchell discounts the Harvard Medical School study as being dated research – even though it is less than 5 months old. “I did some research and found that this study was released back in November 2009, even before meaningful use of an eHR had been defined by [ONCHIT] – or the Office of National Coordinator of Health IT.” As if defining meaningful use was meaningful! That’s humor.

Dis-Respects Parade

Furthermore, editor Mitchell has taken on the responsibility to shield his readers from harm caused by Parade Magazine authors whose ethics fall short of acceptable.

He writes:

“I’m concerned that the public is not being served and they will get the wrong impression of computers in health care, especially if it’s being reported by Parade, which reports celebrity, entertainment and health news.”

Of Healthcare Providers

Not so fast with those tricky pronoun phrases, Bob. Rather than being merely a healthcare stakeholder like you, I’m actually the healthcare provider whom you would have fund your enthusiasm. I think your broad statement that “all of us in healthcare know that digital is much better than paper” is journalistically foolish. In addition, your creativity threatens society much more than alleged exaggerations in Parade Magazine. You not only write about HIT as a career, but people generously call you a managing editor.

eMRs in Dentistry 

The next time you feel important enough to quietly insult writers on behalf of providers like me, remember that eMRs in dentistry will not save money over paper records and will unnecessarily increase the risk of identity theft for my patients … unless you disagree.

It would thrill me if you want to publicly debate the value of electronic dental records (How much do you know about dentistry?)

Assessment

For example, do you realize that if a computer containing thousands of patients’ identifying data is stolen in a burglary, and the dentist, or physician, does the right thing and reports the data breach, he or she will likely be bankrupt even before the HIPAA inspections and lawsuits?

The Ponemon Institute estimates that it will cost about $50 per record just to notify affected patients. A few weeks ago, the HHS was obligated to release information that a burglar stole a computer containing more than 9,000 records from a Missouri dental practice. Just to notify the affected patients will cost the practice almost half a million dollars. But wait. That’s not all. Since the loss involves over 500 individuals, news of the breach must be provided as a press release to the local media. As goes the dentist’s reputation, so goes the dentist’s career – all because of a simple burglary.

Conclusion

So what were you saying about dangerous, biased articles in Parade Magazine? The author whose ethics you criticize has a name. It is Drew Jubera. He’s an award-winning staff member of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in Atlanta GA – home of this ME-P.  I’ll make sure he also gets this message.

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