Jim Schibanoff of the Milliman Care Guidelines, Scott Armstrong of Group Health, John Hammarlund of CMS, and Joe Scherger of Lumetra discuss physician adoption of electronic health records.
Q: Jim Schibanoff, we’ve talked a bit about the cost and investment requirements of adopting these systems. I’m curious also about the impact on providers of learning these new systems, learning how to use them effectively. Is this potentially a larger burden for healthcare providers?
Jim Schibanoff: Well, it’s great to hear Scott describe Group Health’s experience, the after, because most physicians are dealing with the before, which they see as great disruptions to their routines of care, more inefficiencies in their practices. They feel under financial pressure already and here it’s taking more time to use this electronic health record. So getting over that hump is a significant issue. And in systems like the VA, Kaiser, I believe Group Health, there is much more of a group culture. There’s a financial mechanism, a delivery mechanism. The physicians are more integrated into the system, as opposed to all the physicians in private practice who are in one or two physician offices and may go to one or two hospitals.
“With so much focus being placed on hospitals and clinics implementing electronic patient information systems, what – if anything – can state and/or federal government do to help support/alleviate the sometimes significant amount of time it takes physicians and clinicians to learn and become proficient at using a clinical information system – thus amounting to less time for patient care during that learning-curve period?”
For submitting this question, Ed Boyle is a finalist in our question contest. Congratulations, Ed.
Q: What can the state and/or federal government do to help physicians learn the clinical information systems without detracting from patient care?
Mike Kreidler: The answer is “yes, there is.” We’re working on administrative simplification so that physicians and payers can process claims in a timely fashion in a common format. The current system is antiquated. Even the rules that have been put forth for the various coding (by federal definition) have significant variations. There are format interpretation differences between one carrier or another. You’ve got to standardize that. Read more…