Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Many Georgia doctors are using electronic technology to communicate with patients. Anything from appointment reminders to test results can be communicated direct to your smart phone. The AJC reports:

Patients can have the doctor virtually diagnose skin lesions. They can learn how to lose weight using a calorie counter. And facts and figures on medications are right at Dr. Stone’s fingertips.

Across Georgia, a growing number of patients are encountering doctors who have adopted electronic health records and other technologies — from smart phones and iPads to Web portals — to receive better coordinated care.

Such accessibility is nice, but many wifi connections are not secure. What is the possibility of your PHI (personal health information) falling in to the wrong hands?

The push toward electronic records is fueled, in part, by the new health care law that will encourage that providers receive payments based on results and patients’ overall health instead of reimbursing them for each visit or procedure.

But setting up an electronic system can be especially daunting for small practices. A system can cost $30,000 to $50,000 — per doctor — and takes time and manpower.

Ahh! Another of those Obamacrap rules that are supposed to make health care more affordable by raising the cost of physician services.

Wonder if the docs are exempt from fines if your PHI is leaked, which is a HIPAA violation?

Rome family physician Dr. Anne White, has found setting up her new system to be a challenge. White bought her first electronic record system in 2000 for $6,000. It was fairly basic, but there was no more running around the office searching for paper charts.

But the process of transferring to a new system has been rife with problems. Many records didn’t transfer over. Data had to be re-entered by hand. White’s staff can look at charts from the old system but can’t print them. She hired two employees to help deal with the new system, and her practice manager spends much of his time troubleshooting IT problems.

White bought the system early last year and estimates it could take another year to iron out all of the issues.

And what if the software becomes obsolete like with her earlier system? How costly will it be to perform another upgrade?

Change can be good but it is not without issues.

Even with "grants" (of taxpayer money and Chinese federal dollars) I wonder how many of these systems will be able to communicate with Medicare? If your doctor's office cannot use the data to transmit to Medicare will your claims be paid on a timely basis?

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