Funding electronic medical records and bailing out the Big Three automakers

Barack Obama wisely wants to spend money to modernize the country’s antiquated health records system.

But is throwing money on old, flawed technology to right course of action? Emergency physician Rick Peters (via David Catron) thinks not, as the spread of first-generation EMR programs will simply lead to “across the board loss of clinical efficiency, a loss of productivity and a counterintuitive increase in the number of personnel, and increased clinical and administrative errors due to system and user interface complexity.”

Today’s electronic record systems are not ready for prime time. They do not talk to one another, and a propagation of fragmented systems may make things worse than they already are.

Like bailing out the Big Three automakers, an infusion of federal dollars into the current crop of programs will only stifle innovation that’s sorely needed to make electronic record systems truly useful.