Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Electonic Health Records / Electronic Medical Records - Scams

Dr. David Scheiner, an internist based in the Chicago neighborhood of Hyde Park, was President Obama’s doctor for twenty-two years, from 1987 until he entered the White House but has publicly opposed Obama’s health plan, calling for a single payer system (see the text and video in my May 13, 2009 post for an introduction to the current debate over single payer).

In a recent interview, Dr. Scheiner said, "President Obama believes that when we have electronic records, somehow night will change into day. That won’t happen. First of all, it’s extremely costly. It will become even easier to scam the health insurance companies and Medicare when you have a cursor that can go over all the things that you perhaps didn’t do, but look good on paper, and you can code much higher."

I post this quote simply to remind us all that while electronic health records / electronic medical records will automate and, in all likelihood, improve many aspects of the delivery of healthcare, at the same time EHR / EMR has the potential to facilitate the execution of today's healthcare scams. So, for the time being, we might well have a reason to temper our enthusiasm for the inevitable computerization of our still-largely-paper-bound healthcare records systems.