New research on over half a million stroke victims admitted to hospitals from 2007 to 2010 shows that there was no difference in quality of care for those admitted to hospitals with EHRs and those without:
The new study “is a wake-up call that we should heed,” writes Dr. John Windle, chief of cardiology at University of Nebraska Medical Center, in an accompanying commentary. Windle said electronic health records haven’t been proven to improve quality of health care, the health of large groups of people, or efficiency.
“An [electronic health record’s] first priority must be support of clinical care, not documentation for billing and reimbursement,” Windle said. (Randy Dotinga, HealthDay)
To be sure, this data is from a period just before the federal government mandated hospitals to install EHRs, juiced with $30 billion of payments. Still, it is hard to believe that the government’s artificially accelerating adoption of EHRs that did not do the trick has improved the situation.
This blog has criticized that government program pretty thoroughly. And we are not alone. Over at The Health Care Blog, Margalit Gur-Arie, hardly a right-wing advocate of reducing government’s role in health care, has a scathing indictment of the whole principle upon which the enterprise is based – “interoperability”:
The initial pocket change comes from selling machine interoperability to their current bewildered (or stupefied) clients, and to less fortunate EHR vendors. But the eventual windfall will not come from the health care delivery system or the hapless patients caught in its web. How much do you think access to a national and hopefully global network of just-in-time medical and personal data is worth to, say, a pharmaceutical company giant? How about life insurance, auto insurance, mortgage, agribusiness, cosmetics, homeland security, retail, transportation?
Machine interoperability is not about patient care in the here and now. Interoperability is not about ensuring that all clinicians have the information they need to treat their patients, or that patients have all the information they need to properly care for themselves. Interoperability is about enriching a set of interoperability infrastructure and service providers and about electronic surveillance of both doctors and their patients. Machine interoperability is about control, power and boatloads of hard cash.