Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Podiatrists and Electronic Health Records

Come, Watson, come! The game is afoot.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1904)

August 15, 2011 - I just returned from a podiatrist’s office. She was complaining Medicare was requiring podiatrists to install an electronic medical record or suffer a 1% reduction in Medicare fees.

She noted that 80% of her patients were on Medicare and that she had to go along with the Medicare game. “Besides,” she added, “ I’m being asked to take blood pressures on 75% of patients. Why should I do that? I don’t treat hypertension.”

Many older podiatrists, she went on to explain, are quitting rather than install EMRs.

She asked, “Why should I be asked to do these things? I only have 15 minutes to see each patient, and to install an EMR, I may have to add staff, and having to enter data will slow me down.”

I had no answers, except to explain, with government health care management experts, data reigns supreme. It’s data uber alles, no matter what the consequences, costs, or usefulness to patients or practitioners.

As Sherlock Holmes might say to Doctor Watson, “Old podiatrists will retire rather than go down to defeet.”

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