KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

As EMR Vision Takes Shape, Doctors Brace – Especially Those Who Are Late In Their Careers

The vision of a fully wired health system - the goal of a push by doctors, hospitals and the federal government - is coalescing at a Michigan hospital, the Detroit Free Press reports. "Patients at some of the state's largest health systems over the next few years, for example, will have hospital rooms wired into a computer system that lets them see their vital signs, medicines and the name and photograph of the hospital staffer who enters their room. All 191 rooms at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital are now equipped with Smart Room technology. The Detroit Medical Center plans to add it in the next few years on its Harper and Hutzel hospitals' medical and surgical floors" (Anstett, 8/16).

Modern Healthcare: But, it's unclear whether all doctors are ready to do what is necessary to earn the federal cash rewards for "meaningful use" of health IT that could make that vision universal.  "Almost everyone in the healthcare industry, it seems, wants physicians to get on the meaningful-use bandwagon. The question is whether most physicians are ready to jump onboard. … Physicians will also be feeling the pressure to be IT savvy in order to maintain their professional certification. The American Board of Medical Specialties said that it would incorporate tools to promote meaningful use of health IT into its maintenance-of-certification program" (Lubell, 8/16).

American Medical News: One group of doctors that might be particularly resistant are those on the cusp of retirement. "Investing in an electronic medical records system was not something many physicians late in their careers were probably thinking about a few years ago. But the introduction of incentive pay for adopting an EMR - and the penalties for not adopting - have older physicians wondering if such an investment is worthwhile." Doctors who don't adopt health IT will face Medicare pay cuts beginning in 2015. But, buying EMRs can sometimes be a big expense with little return, and retiring doctors are often focused on saving (Dolan, 8/16).

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