Physicians voiced their concerns about electronic health records (EHRs) and called out policymakers during a town hall meeting in Atlanta on July 20th hosted by the American Medical Association (AMA).
According to a report from HealthLeaders Media, Rep. Tom Price, MD, (R-GA), formerly of Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta and co-host of the town hall, kicked things off with one specific complaint of doctors, "inconsistency is a problem." The report also quotes AMA President Steven J. Stack, M.D., as saying, "This is not for you to hear me talking to you, but for me to hear you talking to me... Has workflow in your office changed?" In response, at least 80 percent of the audience raised their hands. A sole hand remained raised when Stack asked if the change was for the better, HealthLeaders Media reported. Over the course of the 90-minute meeting they raised concerns over reduced productivity, the security of private patient medical records, interoperability, and government regulation, the report said.
The town hall event was part of AMA's new "Break the Red Tape" initiative, which has the goal of getting policymakers to postpone finalizing the meaningful use Stage 3 regulations in order to align the policy with other programs under the new Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). On the “Break the Red Tape” website, it reads: “Physicians are frequently trailblazers when it comes to using new medical technology. Yet, there is one area of technology that many physicians do not love—their EHRs. While most (80 percent) physicians have an EHR, the vast majority of physicians are extremely dissatisfied with their systems. Furthermore, physicians are incredibly frustrated with the federal government’s meaningful use program, which heavily influences the design of their software and dictates the way physicians must use their EHRs.”
The website continues, “Even with these problems, the federal government has signaled its intent to move forward with the Stage 3 of the MU program this fall. This is particularly surprising since Congress recently passed MACRA legislation, which calls for realignment of several federal government programs (including MU). It appears that the federal government will finalize MU Stage 3 without realigning the other programs. The current direction of the MU program is bad for patients and physicians. If finalized this fall, MU Stage 3 regulations will determine what EHRs and the practice of medicine will look like in years to come.”