An article in the New York Times describes the movement of physicians from private practice to becoming employees of medical clinics. Of particular interest to me was this:
But an even bigger push may be coming from electronic health records. The computerized systems are expensive and time-consuming for doctors, and their substantial benefits to patient safety, quality of care and system efficiency accrue almost entirely to large organizations, not small ones. The economic stimulus plan Congress passed early last year included $20 billion to spur the introduction of electronic health records.
I question the above statement for the following reasons:
- Cost: Web based (SaaS) EMRs such as those offered by PracticeFusion (actually free), SOAPware, and others are less expensive since the Physicians do not have to maintain expensive in-house hardware and software.
- Time-consuming for doctors: I don’t see why an EMR used by private practice is any more time consuming than an EMR used in a clinic. All a Physician has to do is learn to type with 10 fingers and he/she will discover e-prescribing, electronic lab orders, faster patient search etc are features that far outweigh their paper alternatives.
- Patient safety and quality of care: These benefits accrue equally to users of EMRs be they in private practice or clinics.