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Why Doctors DO NOT Need eMRs?

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Why Doctors DO NEED Patient Collaboration Tools!

By Shahid N. Shah MS

As a doctor, it seems as though you’re being told by everyone that you need to jump into electronic health records and electronic medical records software; that’s like telling you that you need to manage patients’ records and is so obvious as to be useless advice.

Focus on Patient Care

Of course, it’s true you need tools to manage records but that’s just the first step. Try not to think about or talk about EMRs; instead, focus on patient care collaboration tools. Here are the kinds of collaboration you need to do on a daily basis and where EMRs and EHRs usually do not help you:

Collaborative Tools

  • Reach out and market to new patients and communicate with existing patients that you may have lost touch with; you need tools that will promote you and your practice so that you can convert visitors to your website into paying patients and clients.
  • Register new patients and maintain patient data – find and work with tools that make the patient fill out major portions of your EMR for you; think of it as “self-service” EMR with tools that can be exposed on your website so that patients can do it themselves.
  • Help cover your medical risks by presenting medical liability coverage information to patients via your website using tools that can prove that they read the materials like informed consent, surgical prep, preparing for a procedure, etc.
  • Allow patients to see their schedule and help manage their appointments directly; if airlines can coordinate and manage aircraft and seats you should be able to get a system that allows patients to schedule an appointment with you.
  • Encourage the use of personal health records (PHRs) and make sure you review and link to the patient’s PHRs. This allows you to be ready to pull data from the PHRs in the future and get out of daily data entry when possible.
  • Get feedback about your practice and patient satisfaction using online surveys.
  • Be able to and receive send secure e-mails and documents to colleagues instead of playing phone tag or faxing constantly.


As you can see from the simple list above, when people tell you to use EMRs they forget that the EMR is not only not enough but may be the wrong thing to focus on if you’re looking to streamline operations.

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7 Responses

  1. Electronic Health Records Can Improve Diabetes Care

    A clinic-randomized trial was conducted from October 2006 to May 2007 in Minnesota. Included were 11 clinics with 41 consenting primary care physicians and the physicians’ 2,556 patients with diabetes. Patients were randomized either to receive or not to receive an electronic health record (EHR)-based clinical decision support system designed to improve care for those patients whose hemoglobin A1c, blood pressure, or LDL cholesterol levels were higher than goal at any office visit. Analysis used general and generalized linear mixed models with repeated time measurements to accommodate the nested data structure.

    The data showed that an EHR-based clinical decision support system led to modest but significant improvements in glucose control and some aspects of blood pressure control. Primary care physicians reported high levels of satisfaction with the intervention and had high rates of use of the clinical decision support system during the intervention period and continued to use the technology for more a year after incentives and feedback were discontinued, although at a lower rate.

    Source: Annals of Family Medicine via DiabetesinControl.com


  2. ONC to Track Nationwide Health IT Use

    The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS has awarded two contracts totaling more than $3.9 million to monitor the nationwide use of health information exchanges and adoption of electronic health-record systems.

    Surescripts, an Arlington, Va.-based vendor of electronic prescribing services and, more recently, an information exchange portal and an ONC-authorized health IT testing and certification body, was awarded a contract valued at more than $1.4 million. Surescripts is to collect, report and analyze “ongoing evidence of nationwide electronic exchange of clinical information, such as electronic prescribing,” and submit reports at least quarterly, according to a contract description posted on a federal website.

    Source: Joseph Conn, Health Strategist IT [2/7/11]


  3. eMR software and hardware isn’t there yet. We still need products that operate based on how we practice medicine; with patients, not as we practice secretarial duties.

    Dr. David E. Marcinko MBA


  4. The Economic Impact of Subsidies
    [How it Affects the Price of eMRs]

    Shahid – When someone else [government, third party, ARRA and HI-TECH, insurance company, drug company etc] is paying the bill (or some of it), we’ll buy or use more stuff because the amount of our own heard-earned money is further below the value of the stuff. This is intuitive. The less something costs us, the more we’ll buy of it; for a period. Demand increases for a period. Artificial demand outstrips supply.

    Ultimately however, the price increases based on this supply-demand equation of Adam Smith! Economists call this phenomenon “moral hazard”, while bankers call it “price inflation”. I call it stupidity. What do you call it?

    Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA


  5. So Sad …

    In an April 12th 2011 letter to patients, this doctor described the EHR transition as “most difficult” and apologized for the two-to-three-hour waits patients endured while he attempted to adopt the system.

    The doctor’s prior lack of familiarity with computers in general likely exacerbated the struggle. “Not being able to type and feeling very awkward in the use of computer documentation, ordering and billing have limited my ability to effectively and in a timely manner see my patients, return calls and send out lab reports,” the physician wrote.


    Ann Miller RN MHA


  6. Malware known as Flame

    If you haven’t yet converted to paperless, Doc, it might be prudent to wait just a little longer.

    Today, Eric Chabrow, writing for govinfosecurity.com, posted “Massive, Advanced Cyberthreat Uncovered – Malware Known as Flame is 20 Times the Size of Stuxnet.”


    Kaspersky Lab’s chief security expert, Alex Gostev tells govinfosecurity that the virus is “one of the most complex threats ever discovered. It’s big and incredibly sophisticated. It pretty much redefines the notion of cyberwar and cyberespionage.”

    He says, “From the initial analysis, it looks like the creators of Flame are simply looking for any kind of intelligence – e-mails, documents, messages, discussions inside sensitive locations, pretty much everything.”

    He adds, “We have not seen any specific signs indicating a particular target such as the energy industry – making us believe it’s a complete attack toolkit designed for general cyber-espionage purposes.”

    Darrell K. Pruitt DDS


  7. EMR BUGS – Not Microbiology

    Did you know that many EMRs come with non-disclosure agreements that prevent doctors from blowing the whistle on “bugs’ or flaws?


    WHY? …. Just because they cannot or will not fix the flaws in their system doesn’t mean that they want to lose market share and lucrative new business.

    Dr. David Marcinko MBA


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