Electronic health records have the potential to improve patient care for problems we can predict, such as reducing urinary tract infections and identifying patients who haven't received their flu shots. But they still appear to be unable to handle some of the more current and unanticipated medical problems, and that should give everyone pause.
A focus on electronic health records and health IT by the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General shows no signs of abating, as evidenced by its 2016 work plan, issued Nov. 2. But its priorities certainly have evolved.
There's yet more evidence that health IT isn't meeting its Triple Aim of better care, efficiency and improved population health--and in some ways is making things worse.
There's been a lot of media attention on interoperability and of information blocking by providers and vendors, from calls to increase decertification of electronic health record products that don't share data, to allegations that the activity is anticompetitive. So it was only a matter of time before someone pointed out that information blocking can violate the healthcare trifecta legal heavy hitters: the Anti-Kickback statute, the Stark Law and the False Claims Act.
Once again, the venerable Institute of Medicine has published an important work on healthcare and patient safety, this time on diagnostic errors. The 369-page report, "Improving Diagnosis in Health Care," released Sept. 22, found that most of us will experience a misdiagnosis in our lifetime. And not surprisingly, EHRs and health IT are front and center in the report in both a positive and a negative way.
It's not often that you see one report hedge its bets so often regarding whether something is working. But that's exactly what the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) annual health IT report does regarding the Meaningful Use program.