Will physicians sacrifice for the future of health IT?

Health IT guru David Kibbe writes that simply adopting electronic records aren’t enough. For one, many EMRs don’t talk to one another, and this loses one of the fundamental advantages of the digitization of medical records:

Many EMR vendors have resisted the call to make their software capable of exporting and importing a standard set of summary personal health data in computable format such as the Continuity of Care Record, CCR, xml standard. This means that for all practical purposes most EMRs remain “islands of data” that can’t connect even with the archipelago of data in their communities, not to mention the continents of data elsewhere.

The next step is trying to convince physicians to adopt electronic records that may not be best for the individual practices, but can help with a global re-organization strategy.

That’s a tall order, and has to be accompanied with physician payment reform. Doctors currently have zero incentive to make the sacrifice, as contributing to the greater good means bankruptcy in many cases:

[Doctors] are right to protest that their painful reality is that they’re NOT organized in this integrated manner, and that becoming more efficient to the “system” through health IT purchases may actually mean money is taken out of their own practices’ pockets.

topics: electronic records, health IT