Should the Government Be Involved with HIT Adoption?

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The AAPS said that many physicians have decided not to use EHRs because they fear the data will be used to control what they do and how they do it.

Recently released results from a survey conducted by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) have shed some light on why physicians continue to resist the adoption of EHRs into practice. AAPS said that many physicians have decided not to use EHRs because “they fear the data will be used to control ‘what they do and how they do it’.” In fact, the survey found that many physicians would choose retirement rather than adopt an EHR; 81% of survey responders said that they don’t use an EHR to practice medicine. It’s interesting to learn how many physicians would go that far in order to avoid using healthcare information technology (HIT), but is it just an empty threat?

One physician provided an interesting response to the survey by saying that EHRs are designed “for outside groups to monitor what is going on in a clinical encounter.” The fact that one of the top reasons for physicians’ resistance to adopt EHRs is their fear of government or third-party interference demonstrates this may be an accurate assumption.

Additional commonly cited reasons for why physicians resist EHRs include concerns about privacy, return on investment, and cost of implementation. Many physicians have also expressed a preference for handwritten notes.

AAPS leaders also took another jab at the government by saying that Congress “has neither the expertise nor the constitutional authority” to mandate HIT. The AMA has a completely different point of view of governmental involvement. AMA leaders want Congress to actively push for HIT adoption and future development, yet they have been unsuccessful so far. “The promise of HIT is that physicians will receive information in real-time that will lead to dramatic improvements in quality care,” said AMA board member Steven Stack, MD.

Do you think the adoption of EHRs opens the door to government interference? Do you agree with the AAPS or AMA? We want to know what you think.

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