Electronic Health Records and
Regulations Intrude on Good Patient Care
Nov. 02, 2015
The nation’s largest state medical society today called on
the U.S. Congress to lift “convoluted and tedious” federal regulations that
physicians say interfere with patient care.
The president of the Texas Medical Association (TMA) asked
for congressional intervention on the latest round of rules requiring
physicians to use electronic health records, a program known as “meaningful use.”
“Meaningful Use started out as a well-intentioned attempt to
give physicians incentives to adopt electronic health records,” TMA President
Tom Garcia, MD, of Houston, said in a letter to Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and
the Texas delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives. “No federal program
ever bore a more inaccurate name than ‘Meaningful Use.’ It’s no surprise that
physicians around the country have begun calling it ‘Meaningless Abuse.’
“The convoluted and tedious electronic health records
requirements are certainly not meaningful to doctors nor our patients,” Dr.
Garcia added. “Neither the electronic health records nor the Meaningful Use
regulations were designed with the realities of medical practice in mind.
Together, they leave us clicking more but achieving less.
The letter asked the Texans in Congress to cosponsor and
support two bills:
2141, the Transparent Ratings on Usability and Security to Transform
Information Technology (TRUST IT) Act of 2015 by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.); and
3309, the Flex-IT 2 Act, by Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.).
“We believe Congress must enact legislation that provides
positive incentives for physicians to acquire and maintain health information
technology,” Dr. Garcia wrote. “Until electronic health records truly add value
to medical care and can seamlessly interact with other systems, we want
Congress to reform the program and eliminate federal mandates that compel
physicians to engage in unnecessary activities and reporting.”
The Texas action is part of a nationwide physician backlash
against meaningful use and mandates to use electronic health records:
- EHR State of Mind, a video by physician-rapper Zubin
Damania, MD (aka ZDoggMD), has drawn nearly 200,000 views.
- Almost half of physicians surveyed this year by the
said electronic health records detract from patient care.
- A town hall event hosted by the American Medical Association
(AMA) and the Medical Association of Georgia concluded that electronic
health records have much potential, but frustrating government regulations like
meaningful use have made them almost unusable.
- AMA and more than 40 national specialty societies called on Health and Human
Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell to put the meaningful use program on pause
until the federal bureaucracy can fix its many problems.
“Help us put real meaning
back into medical practice,” Dr. Garcia said.
is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than
48,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has
110 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective
since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.
Contact: Brent Annear
(512) 370-1381; cell: (512) 656-7320; email: brent.annear[at]texmed[dot]org
(512) 370-1382; cell: (512) 650-5336; email: marcus.cooper[at]texmed[dot]org
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