The title may have funny in it but truthfully I’m more than a little chagrined every time I think about how cautious or indignant that folks get when the business side of healthcare comes up. Case in point, here is an article from the NY Times that talks about all the big EHR companies making money around the deployment of electronic record keeping. There is the insinuation that something sleazy is going on about the deployment of EHRs. In my opinion, it is more an issue of practicality.
For example, when I was in the field we negotiated for the installation of a small EHR for our practice. The old records keeping system had been in place for decades and we paid about $85K per year in maintenance, licensing and upgrades (I know!). The new EHR would set us back about $750K. This is nearly a ten fold increase and is indicative of the cost differentials. For some reason, software companies want to cover development costs and make a profit. The government was being practical in the extreme by offering incentive monies for the deployment of EHR systems. If not, most of the mom and pop shops that we call healthcare in the U.S. would never move beyond paper record keeping. Remember there is always a mentality in small business that investment in the infrastructure is taking money right out of the owner’s wallet. In this case that owner just happens to be your GP.
Of course, this isn’t to say that there isn’t room for abuse. In my opinion, the bar was set way too low to get incentive payments. Also, entire segments of healthcare have been left our like Behavioral Healthcare.
Read the article and see what you think.