Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Our Pen and Paper Doctors New York Times Editorial June 24 2008

I just read the editorial which refers to the June 18, 2008 New England Journal of Medicine article which surveyed 2,700 physicians. It notes that in countries with single payor systems, electronic health record use is almost universal. In those countries, the government foots the bill. All the financial benefits are then funneled back for re-investment etc. The major barriers noted here in the United States relate to the cost of acquisition, the cost of maintenance, the lack of standards and fear of early obsolescence among others.

Unfortunately, the editorial ends with the sentence, "It is time to drag private physicians out of the paper age".

There is no need to disbarage the concerns of physicians. The financial barriers are real and the financial benefits unfortunately mostly accrue to others. Physicians need not be "dragged", they just need the financial assistance to get started and a fair share of the benefits that will be generated. Once this is done, I believe that most physicians will do their fair share of pulling health care away from the Pen and Paper of the previous century.

Salvatore Volpe MD
Co-Chair of the Medical Society State of New York, Health Information Technology Committee

NY Times

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