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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Those who advocate for electronic medical records cite a decreased incidence of medical errors.

The VA's universal EMR, VistA, has been hailed as a model to aspire to. That confidence was recently shaken by an AP report, which disclosed a "software glitch" which exposed patients to wrong doses of medications.

One example included heparin, a blood thinner that requires close monitoring. Other problems included vital ...

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News released last week suggests this is may be the case.

The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, trumpeted that of the doctors who used electronic medical systems, "6.1 percent had a record of paid malpractice claims compared with 10.8 percent of physicians who did not use an EHR."

In lieu of the lack of any improved patient outcome data associated with EHRs, proponents are trying ...

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Most of the rewards go to the insurance companies instead of benefiting the physician.

This piece by David Hamilton doesn't break any new ground, and I cited a statistic earlier this year that doctors only realize about 11 percent of each dollar saved with EMRs.

Nonetheless, it's a good overview of the obstacles facing every doctor who's on the fence about going electronic. Office costs in ...

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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, ...

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There's the easy and the hard way.

EMR guru David Kibbe is encouraged that Obama is promising to spend the necessary resources to fund electronic records.

However, using it to simply allow doctors to select from the current potpourri of eclectic, disjointed programs may be easy, but not wise, as "it would only dramatically intensify the Babel that already exists."

If it were up to me (and ...

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Much has been made of the ability of EMRs to save money through increased efficiency.

Cardiologist Dr. Wes doesn't believe it, as these digital systems make it much easier to order tests as well. Alerts and clinical pathways abound that make ordering expensive tests and consults as simple as clicking a mouse.

So in this case, "efficiency" has the potential to balloon spending, as "panels of ...

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Not so, says this primary care physician.

Dr. Rob tells us to stop blaming the current crop of programs, and simply admit that it's difficult to fundamentally change your practice in order to install a digital record system.

He says that it's similar to the decision facing those who consider buying hybrid cars, saying "you could spend more money for gas efficiency, but why?" He advises doctors ...

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