Sunday, February 22, 2015

On Electronic Health Records and Meaningful Use Incentives

Many medical students, particularly pre-clinical medical students, do not understand the utter insanity and horror that is electronic health records/electronic medical records (EHRs/EMRs).  Instead, you will find many that endorse such programs as the be-all end-all and cure to the terrible days of handwritten records.  In such EMRs, we are promised, is the potential for limitless medical discovery and efficiency.  This ethos is shared by many in healthcare administration and others who are not clinicians.  The Federal government has bought this hook, line, and sinker and is poised to impose financial penalties upon any healthcare provider who does not use EMRs.  As an aside, this is not attributable to the ACA/Obamacare- the EHR companies have their tendrils into US Department of Health and Human Services, and it was under Bush that the first meaningful use incentives began to come out if I recall correctly.  However, Obama has continued this trend with his ACA, and his recently announced initiative to use large scale data collection from EMRs combined with genetic data- which he is calling Precision Medicine.

I fully support the use of big data, but I think EHR incentives/penalties are a terrible idea.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

I support vaccines- but I am somewhat surprised that more parents don't

As a medical student, I strongly support vaccination. It works, it's safe, and it doesn't cause autism. But I also understand why many parents don't believe me and the medical community when we beg them to vaccinate their kids.

Medicine has come a long way from "Do No Harm". Now we talk about risks and benefits: and none of our tests, medicines, or procedures are without risks. Increasingly, pharmaceutical companies have been caught concealing those risks from doctors and the public.