Blu­men­thal for the de­fense

Modern Healthcare - - Outliers -

Dr. David Blu­men­thal, na­tional co­or­di­na­tor for health in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy, may be leav­ing his post this spring, but he’s go­ing out swing­ing.

Dur­ing a panel dis­cus­sion Feb. 8 at Acade­myHealth’s Na­tional Health Pol­icy Con­fer­ence, Blu­men­thal flatly de­nied the con­tention of a Mas­sachusetts physi­cian and his fel­low pan­elist that elec­tronic health records don’t im­prove care and would pro­duce a net fi­nan­cial drain for providers.

Blu­men­thal sup­ported his crit­i­cism by cit­ing sur­veys that found most physi­cians who used EHRs could cite at least one type of clin­i­cal ben­e­fit the costly dig­i­tal record sys­tems had pro­vided.

“I’m sure there are some physi­cians that have not seen care im­prove with an EHR, but they are the ex­cep­tion,” Blu­men­thal said.

Also, Blu­men­thal noted other sur­veys found that clin­i­cians who use EHRs, on av­er­age, had higher in­comes than those who did not.

Dr. Kevin Lan­phear, a fam­ily prac­tice physi­cian in New­bury­port, Mass., said his crit­i­cisms ap­plied only to his own ex­pe­ri­ence and the ex­pe­ri­ences of other physi­cians he knew with EHRs.

“I’m a fan of the tech­nol­ogy, just not of the man­dates and reg­u­la­tions that in­ter­fere with the care of my pa­tients,” Lan­phear says.

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