I swear by Epic, by eClinicalWorks, by Allscripts, by AthenaHealth, and by all the coders and accountants, making them my witnesses, that I will carry out, according to my ability and judgment, this oath and this indenture.
To hold my mouse in this art equal to my own hand; to make it right-click as well as left-click; when my ACO is in need of money to share an “at-risk” portion of mine with it; to consider Joint Commission inspectors as my own brothers, and to answer their questions, no matter how obscure, without hesitation or resentment; to impart coding, billing, quality measures and all other vital instruction to my own sons and daughters, the sons and daughters of my teacher, and to indentured employees who have taken the physician’s oath, but to nobody else competing with my health system.
I will use mouse clicks to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but never trusting my own judgment over that of guidelines, directives, policies or best practices. Neither will I administer a poison to anybody when asked to do so, unless the poison is properly linked to a diagnostic code and reconciled in the medication list.
Similarly, I will not give to a woman a pessary to cause abortion, especially if the pessaries aren’t covered by her insurance plan. But I will keep pure and holy both my problem list and my billing codes. I will not use the knife unless credentialed by a committee, not even, verily, on sufferers from the stone, but I will give place to such as are craftsmen therein, and will do my best to decode their two-sentence notes should they choose to leave one.
Into whatsoever houses I enter, I will enter to help the sick, without expectation of payment because no one pays for house calls. I will abstain from all intentional down- or upcoding and premature closing of encounters, especially from abusing the computers on which I labor, for they are my true patients. And whatsoever I shall see or hear in the course of my profession, as well as outside my profession in my intercourse with men, if it be what should not be published abroad, I will never divulge, holding such things to be holy secrets, but mainly because HIPAA says so, and that comes with monetary fines and jail time.
Now if I carry out this oath, and break it not, may I gain forever reputation among all men for my mad abilities to click boxes and buff the chart; but if I transgress it and forswear myself, may the opposite befall me, and may I be banished to a Third World nation where I might labor in obscurity to help truly sick people with my medical skills.
Paul D. Simmons is a family physician.
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