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The Power Vacuum. Is the Lack of Community Leadership Dooming us to Chaos?

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Wal-Mart’s entrance into the EMR/PM market can be seen as just another example of the commercial market flexing its muscles and taking advantage of the leadership vacuum created by the lethargy of our HIE and RHIO efforts.

Why would a physician practice choose to undertake the solo effort of implementing an EMR? For one, I suspect that few practices are even aware of the intrinsic benefits of participation in a HIE. No doubt every software provider promises “interoperability” at the sales call, but why add one more interface for an exchange to manage?

When I began practicing medicine the County Medical Society and hospital staff meetings were attended by most physicians in the community. Now, as physicians become more estranged from their local medical societies and hospital medical staff decision processes it is more difficult to engage them in consolidated efforts for any cause.

We need to reach out to our community physicians with the same vigor as the commercial EMR sales force if we are to avoid having our communities slip into an EMR free for all.

He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the maze of the most busy life. But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidence, chaos will soon reign. Victor Hugo (1802 - 1885)

Wal-Mart’s entrance into the EMR/PM market can be seen as just another example of the commercial market flexing its muscles and taking advantage of the leadership vacuum created by the lethargy of our HIE and RHIO efforts.
We need to reach out to our community physicians with the same vigor as the commercial EMR sales force

Comments

Well put. I'm not sure that there is an intrinsic benefit to participating in an HIE, but I would say that there might be a benefit to your patients if you use an EMR. The question is how do we reach out to our community physicians?

Thanks for the comment. Did you know that I am a Southwestern Medical School Grad? If RHIOs and HIEs are destined to be in our (and our patient's) future then it would make sense for them to lead the community's physician practices in obtaining EMRs. Clearly there may be some negotiating strength in numbers, but more importantly it will minimize the interface and maintenance nightmare that I have observed in even the smallest rural communities where there are as many EMRs as there are doctors.
You asked the key question: "how do we reach out to our community physicians?" There seems to be only one common thread to the physician culture conundrum and that is that there is no common thread. Not to be glib, but each community has its particular cultural hurdles to overcome. Mandates and deadlines are prime movers, but until then how do we motivate a population too estranged to volunteer, too busy to lead, too often ripped-off to trust, and too broke to spend?