Thursday, January 29, 2015

CMS: Millions of patients across the nation are benefiting from the - um - potential - of Health IT?

I presume this is, in part, a response to the Jan. 21 letter from AMA and the other medical societies as I wrote about two days ago at

CMS intends to modify requirements for Meaningful Use

January 29
By Patrick Conway, MD

Today, we at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are pleased to announce our intent to engage in rulemaking to update the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs beginning in 2015. These intended changes would help to reduce the reporting burden on providers, while supporting the long term goals of the program.

Read the document at the link above.

Note in particular this cheerful statement:

Since the first year of the EHR Incentive Programs in 2011, the United States has seen unprecedented growth in the adoption and meaningful use of EHRs. To date, more than 400,000 eligible providers have joined the ranks of hospitals and professionals that have adopted or are meaningfully using EHRs. This means that millions of patients across the nation are benefiting from the potential of better coordinated care among professionals, more accurate prescribing, and improved communication.

How does one, I ask, benefit from "potential of better care"?

How about the more factual "millions of patients are being put at risk and actually being harmed by the non-potential, but in fact actual, flaws in the technology?"

Until our leadership stops the mental cheerleading like this (or is it a form of subliminal messaging?), which blinds the uninformed to the reality ... the situation with healthcare IT will not improve, in my opinion.

And this after a formal letter of complaint about health IT disruptions to care, dangers, etc. from these organizations:

American Medical Association
AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
American Academy of Dermatology Association
American Academy of Facial Plastic
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Academy of Home Care Medicine American Academy of Neurology
American Academy of Ophthalmology
American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists
American Association of Neurological Surgeons
American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
American College of Emergency Physicians
American College of Osteopathic Surgeons
American College of Physicians
American College of Surgeons
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American Osteopathic Association
American Society for Radiology and Oncology
American Society of Anesthesiologists
American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery and Reconstructive Surgery
American Society of Clinical Oncology
American Society of Nephrology
College of Healthcare Information Management Executives
Congress of Neurological Surgeons
Heart Rhythm Society
Joint Council on Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Medical Group Management Association
National Association of Spine Specialists
Renal Physicians Association
Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions
Society for Vascular Surgery

-- SS

Addendum 1/30/15:

Also see my April 26, 2014 post "Followup to CMS does not have any information that supports or refutes claims that a broader adoption of EHRs can save lives" at with its attached March 2014 lettert from CMS.  This document was obtained by the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) via FOIA on the "potential" benefits patients are realizing from the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on this technology to date:

CMS: "we do not have any information that supports or refutes claims that a broader adoption of EHRs can save lives."  [But millions of patients are already benefiting from the potential!]  Click to enlarge.

-- SS


Anonymous said...

Omg, do they got it wrong. These devices are impediments to communication, disrupt cognition, cause errors, and delay care, not to mention the upcoding built in to the systems.

Anonymous said...

I eat potential for breakfast. It gives me energy to champion HIT to my colleagues while
their patients' bodies are bagged.

Steve Lucas said...

Today’s newspaper doctor has an article about a person who was sent to the hospital for an EKG. The tech said they were in A fib and needed to be admitted, they declined. The person then got a call from their doctor telling them to go back to the hospital, which they did.

While being admitted, and for the first time, a cardiologist looked at the read out and stated there was no problem, why are they being admitted.

This whole situation was based on an EKG making a diagnosis, a tech following orders, a doctor not willing to read or confirm the EKG. This person once admitted would not have been able to get out without a complete cardiac work up along with having this part of their medical record at a cost of who knows what.

Ain’t technology great!!

Steve Lucas

InformaticsMD said...

Steve, see my post about the billionaire who thinks you can meet the medical needs of a city with about ten doctors and computers.

I think these folks conflate computers for a certain historical figure chronicled in the Bible whose name began with 'J'.

Anonymous said...

The FDA has not calidated the accuracy of the EKG software in many years. What is described above is a widespread problem.

There are cases in which the patient is treated with potent anticoagulants based on the erroneous diagnosis of afib, with ER doctors missing the error of the EKG diagnostic device.