leavitt.jpgFrustrated by the slow adaptation of physicians to medical technology, hospitals and legislators are considering requiring physicians to purchase some form of an electronic medical records system in order to conduct business. Proponents argue that the technology would reduce medical errors and costs. A major advocate for the mandatory use of EMR is HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt who comments on his blog:

“Large health care providers, including Medicare and Medicaid, need to move toward making it a mandatory part of medical practice soon.”

Partners in Healthcare, an organization in Massachusetts, has mandated that physician practices and its other partners who refer patients must have some form of EMR. Otherwise, they will no longer be able to practice at the Partners facilities.

The hospitals have offered to pay for some of the costs but not all of it. Cardiologist Mario Motta MD, who works for North Shore Cardiovascular Associates, a partner of Partners Healthcare, comments:

“It is basically a loss,. I don’t get to keep the medical record if I decide to move. The benefit primarily accrues to the system and insurers, who make out royally for this. They should be paying for the bulk of it.”

Other Partners-affiliated physicians who are refusing to purchase the system are either leaving or retiring.

[Source: American Medical News]