The EMR (Electronic Medical Record) was supposed to make things so easy for everyone. Just input the medications once, and then update as needed. Type instead of write, take a picture of the patient, share files over the internet so the doctor who sees you in Washington state can see that you had a tetanus shot in Florida in 2012.
That was the fantasy. What the EMR has become is a data collection tool for the government and other corporate interests. What is the data being used for? Well I’m sure whatever it is, it isn’t to make healthcare more affordable or make your trip to the Washington state urgent care more convenient.
EMRs have been blamed for the disruption of the doctor-patient relationship as much as anything since the co-pay. Where the co-pay based practice of medicine has relegated the doctor’s front office to a toll operator (no insurance, no pass) the EMR has turned the 7 minutes a doctor has with a patient into 5 minutes of hen pecking followed by 2 minutes of good old fashioned medicine.
Name? Check. BMI? Check. Smoke or drink? Oh wait you’re five years old. Who do you like to have sex with, men, women, or both? Oh yeah, you’re five. Okay let’s have a look at that rash.
So while the EMR has been a windfall for software companies who land million dollar accounts with hospitals who are forced to use them or face the wrath of CMS, and while EMRs allow government regulators to force doctors to become more like inquisitors than healers through Meaningful Use, MACRA, MIPS, and PQRS, the Electronic Medical Record has failed it’s original supposed mission.
So the next time you hear a politician talk about how they are going to fix healthcare, remember the sad story of the EMR, and you’ll know why doctors and patients are choosing concierge medicine and direct primary care instead of government-approved models.