A primary-care doc-blogger writes:

“EMR’s have gone over to the dark side.

“I wrote about it in an earlier post, about how hard I had to work to figure out my EMR system. Well, I never really figured that EMR out, so am in the midst of deciding where to go next. The problem I see is that instead of transforming health care by simplifying the process (what I imagined in the early EMR years), electronic records have been transformed by the system to add a complexity that was not possible without computers. ”The system” thrives on complexity and documentation of that said complexity in complex ways. It is job security to EMR vendors, hospital administrators, insurance and HHS employees, and the armies of medical billing staff over our great land. Computers can turn difficult tasks into easy ones, but EMR has taken easy tasks and made them incredibly complex.

“This has been much clearer now that I don’t care about documentation for the sake of payment, and am not trying for ‘meaningful use.’ I just want to document so I can give good care, using the EMR in a meaningful, useful way. Yet, to enable a seasoned veteran of EMR (16+ years of use) to simply document a visit required hours of training. After they bragging of the way I could send lab results to patient portal (complying with meaningful use) more than one vendor explained apologetically that they were unable to print a letter with those same results. Adding problems and medications is another simple task made complex, not to mention finding them on the list after they’ve been entered.”

The writer, Dr. Rob Lamberts, is a primary-care doctor in Georgia who left his old practice and has now started a direct-pay practice, meaning he won’t take insurance. You can read about his decision here, and the recent post on his new practice, which contains the above passage, is here.

Jeanne Pinder

Jeanne Pinder  is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded...