Anyone affiliated with the medical industry can attest that the implementation of modern healthcare technology is one of the most contentious issues throughout the field. On one hand, new technologies such as electronic health records (EHRs) are designed to make patient documentation easily accessible, not to mention protected in the event that a fire or other disaster destroys the physical records. But on the other hand, healthcare workers of all positions are finding plenty of EHR setbacks.
Take, for example, the recent story of an aging Illinois obstetrician who will no longer be able to deliver babies due to his refusal to accept mandatory training for his hospital’s new EHR. Despite a successful career spanning more than five decades, the venerable physician has accepted that a main element of his career is now at an end due to the implementation of healthcare technology.
But some have it even worse. Late last year, an 85-year-old New Hampshire doctor was forced to give up her medical license when she confirmed that she did not use computers at all within her practice and therefore could not comply with state prescription drug monitoring. As with the Illinois physician, many long-time patients were upset at the decision, but their complaints did nothing to change the outcome.
With a large-scale physician shortage approaching quickly, is this healthcare technology causing more harm than good? Even in the instances where practices accept new technology without a fight, EHRs are notorious for encouraging cloned notes, which can lead to problems for providers, coders, and billers alike. While it certainly doesn’t make sense to eliminate all healthcare technology from the field, maybe it’s time to take a step back and allow everyone to catch up with what is already in place. The more coders and providers who understand the technology they’re using, the more accurate their documentation and claims will be, and the better the industry will flow overall.