CHIME: Letter to the editor

I wrote this today in response to what I felt was an overly optimistic depiction of how well hospitals are coping with EHR.  What is your take?


I am writing in response to the viewpoint you wrote recently.
While there is no doubt that some hospitals have made tremendous progress implementing EHR, and some executives believe they have a realistic shot of securing incentive payments, I am convinced that when all is said and done and the Meaningful Use audit has been completed, the number of hospital CFOs queued outside of CHS to pick up their checks could fit comfortably in a Hyundai.
What goods news there will be, albeit unannounced, will be that once CMS discovers they are holding a twenty-billion dollar lottery for which no one is able to claim their prize, they will be forced to relax the standards and move the dates.  In fact, I think MU for hospitals may disappear altogether.
I am a strong supporter of the benefits of implementing EHR.  However, EHR vendors have not exactly had to add extra chairs in their waiting rooms to accommodate all of their potential customers.  Perhaps the incentive payments and the RECs arose from observing the number of failed implementations and the number of hospitals who have not made much progress with EHR.
I think when one writes about the successes of EHR for large providers it is important to level-set the reader with some measure of perspective in terms of the total population of large providers.  One way to describe the relative number of successful EHR implementations as compared to the number of hospitals may be to say it is comparable to the handful of people who know how to use all of the features of Microsoft Word against those who do not.



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