One oft-heard complaint is how difficult it is for patients to talk to an actual physician.

The reasons are myriad, but the main factor is that doctors are not reimbursed for e-mail and telephone communication with patients.

A group in California is going to find out how badly patients would like to use e-mail as a communication tool. For an annual fee of $60, patients get the ...

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New numbers have recently come out, highlighting how low the adoption rate is for electronic medical records in hospitals.

As reported by MedPage Today, the study from the NEJM found that only 1.5 percent of hospitals surveyed had comprehensive electronic medical record systems. That's a piss-poor adoption rate, and far lower than the dismal numbers in small office practices.

The reasons cited are no surprise to ...

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I'm afraid the answer is yes.

An op-ed in the Washingon Post criticizes the influx of federal dollars to fund the spread of the current generation of electronic medical records.

Much of the data supporting the improvements in patient safety and the supposed cost-savings were done in large, integrated health systems, such as the VA, Kaiser Permanente in California, or the Mayo Clinic.

Unfortunately, ...

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Well, they're going to give it a try.

In a somewhat audacious initiative, Wal-Mart is entering the digital medical records fray. They're proposing to bundle computers and equipment, along with a popular EMR program, to sell to doctors at an attractive price. They're probably hoping that bulk purchases with help with the pricing.

Will it work? It depends.

David Williams, although cautiously optimistic, ...

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Well, duh.

Many patient encounters, like those involving medication refills for instance, can be done without an office visit. An e-mail or telephone conversation would suffice in most cases. However, with Medicare and other private insurers refusing to reimburse for such claims, it is no wonder that many doctors insist on a face to face visit that gets reimbursed.

HMO Kaiser Permanente recently published a study ...

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One of the pillars of health care reform is modernizing our antiquated health records system.

That means pouring billions of dollars into the current generation of electronic medical records (EMRs), despite both the flaws, and the myriad of reasons why doctors are so resistant to go digital.

In an excellent piece, orthopedic surgeon Scott Haig points to why electronic records are not likely to save money, and worse, ...

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It's surprisingly frequent.

WhiteCoat notes a study from the Archives of Internal Medicine looking at how often doctors overrode drug interaction warnings that pop up when prescribing.

I can say, at least with the EMR that I use, that it's quite frequent, with warnings occurring when refilling medications that patients have been taking safely for years.

I'm not alone with this experience, as the ...

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Much has been made of Betsy McCaughey's analysis of how the economic stimulus package will affect health care.

Although she takes a partisan swipe at the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, perhaps what's more frightening is that billions of dollars may potentially be poured into an inadequate health IT infrastructure.

Blogging over at Health Care Renewal, MedInformaticsMD asks whether government can succeed as the primary sponsor ...

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There's a lot to digest in the economic stimulus bill, but it appears that hospitals will be the recipient of the majority of the $19 billion allocated to health IT.

MedPage Today takes a closer look at the language and finds that "the Senate bill allocated about $19 billion to upgrade hospitals' electronic records systems and limited how much an individual hospital could receive to $1.5 million . ...

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A known problem with electronic medical records is the use of template-based documentation.

This saves a tremendous amount of time, as paragraphs upon paragraphs of information can be documented with a single keystroke.

Problems arise when doctors, inadvertently or not, document history or physical exam findings that do not exist. The issue occurs more often than you think, and with the traditional mindset of "if you ...

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