EHRs Contributing to the Doctor Shortage

 

Finding it hard to see a doctor lately? It could be because of EHRs.

Electric Health Records (EHRs) have failed to live up to their promised benefits and in fact may be contributing to physician burn-out and early retirement. Twila Brase, author of a book entitled Big Brother in the Exam Room: The Dangerous Truth About Electronic Health Records, explains in an article published by The Hill.

The reason is the intrusion of the laptop computer into your doctor’s exam room. Rather than make eye-contact with you while he questions your latest health concerns, your doctor is probably engrossed in his computer making data entries.

When EHRs were first introduced after the Obama administration made them mandatory (or suffer penalties on your Medicare payments), I attended a medical conference to learn more. At the beginning of the three-hour seminar we were all assured of the following:

  • EHRs would make us more productive
  • EHRs were inexpensive and would pay for themselves
  • EHRs would reduce personnel costs
  • EHRS would reduce medical errors

 

But after the Q & A session that followed the speakers, every one of those claims was proven false. The same speakers who promised these benefits had to admit, upon further questioning, that none of their promises were true!

Time and experience has proven these admissions correct. Here is the reality about EHRs:

  • EHRs reduce productivity – by as much as 50%
  • EHRs increase personnel costs – for data entry clerks
  • EHRs are expensive to implement – and expensive to maintain
  • EHRs do not reduce medical errors – and may actually increase them

 

According to Blasé, studies find deep physician dissatisfaction with the government-certified EHR technology (CEHRT) they’ve been forced to use. The most frequently cited reasons, according to a 2013 survey, are lost productivity due to documentation demands (85 percent) and seeing fewer patients (66 percent). In short, physicians who trained up to 25 years to care for patients have become data entry clerks for government agencies, health plans and the health IT companies that work for them.

In a 2018 survey, 40 percent of physicians said EHRs have more challenges than benefits, and 59 percent said EHRs need a complete overhaul. Patient safety is also a concern. As Modern Healthcare reported in 2015: “In 2012, 5 percent felt that EHRs increased errors versus 12 percent today.”

In 2016, a survey revealed 48% of physicians are considering early retirement or leaving patient care- as a direct result of EHRs. According to a 2018 report by the Association of American Medical Colleges, there will be a doctor shortage of 120,000 by 2030. This is up from last year’s estimate of 88,000 by 2025.

The truth is that EHRs were forced upon the medical profession by government bureaucrats that wanted more control over the decision-making of doctors. This was an insidious step in the process of government take-over of healthcare. Sadly, it has failed to live up to its promises and only exacerbated our growing shortage of physicians.

After all, who wants to spend 25 years in training just to be a data-entry clerk?

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