What Electronic Healthcare Records Do and What they Don’t Do


David Lee Scher, MD, FACP, FACC, FESC, FHRS.

Dr. Scher was, until recently, a practicing cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist. He has extensive experience in the medical device and healthcare IT industries, and is now Director at DLS HEALTHCARE CONSULTING, LLC concentrating in device and IT marketing.

Electronic health records should be a digital representation of a provider-patient interaction as well as a repository for test results, medications, and interactions with outside providers. According to the vision of the ONC (government healthcare IT regulators), it should be a tool with Meaningful Use, a secure, fluid flow of information among appropriate players in the healthcare spectrum of that patient. This is very wishful thinking on a number of levels.

What Electronic Healthcare Records DO

EHRs will bring medicine into the digital age more so than it is now. The lack of physician offices being ‘wired’ has been embarrassing for the professionals who have adopted this technology for the good of our patients years ago. Technology utilized in the diagnosis and treatment of disease uses leading edge developments in IT. But the more important communication of this technology among providers has been in the Stone Age. The transition is proving painful but necessary. Government penalties for lack of adoption are estimated to exceed incentives to successfully adoptees by $600 million by 2017.

The adoption of Electronic Healthcare Records will increase patients’ access to their own medical data. Part of the Meaningful Use regulations mandate short time limits between patient requests for their record and the transmission of them by the provider. This applies to emergency department visits, office visits, and the entire patient medical record. This is a right of a patient. The time limits set forth by the ONC are a bit onerous and may very well be revised, but the principal is sound. Patient educational tools will be a function of this portal as well.

EHRs will become a good tool for medical malpractice documentation, both for the defense and plaintiff. Entries will be timed, entry provider identified, and difficult to alter. Providers need to be educated about this aspect of EHRs very well, as it represents a different set of guidelines in this regard.

What Electronic Healthcare Records DO NOT DO

Electronic Healthcare Records will not be accurate coders for services rendered in the office. EHR companies are promoting their products as moneymakers for providers, touting their systems as products that appropriately upgrade coding for higher visit fees. These are very loosely on E and M components of billing. Most of these systems are from automatic drop down lists of history and physicals. These types of systems lend themselves to gross errors. The complexity of the decision making process, the review of records furnished by other providers, and other factors can drastically change the automated billing code. Be wary of EHR companies that put this on the top of the list of why you must buy their product!

Electronic Healthcare Records will not be compatible with all systems out there utilized by other providers, labs, hospitals, etc. This is the true Achilles heel of Meaningful Use and expectations of EHRs. The huge amount of EHR and other product providers as well as the cost and healthcare political issues involved will slow this goal down indefinitely as far as I can see.It mimics many aspects of our healthcare system that are complicated by the sheer diversity of players (insurance companies, governmental agencies, providers, institutions).

EHRs will not necessarily save money, improve patient outcomes, or decrease adverse drug reactions. None of these have been show thus far. The jury is out. These are the most laudable goals of EHRs. At the minimum EHRs are getting healthcare into the 21st century. Let’s give this a chance!

David Lee Scher, MD, FACP, FACC, FESC, FHRS

Contact info: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Twitter: dlschermd




More than 21,000 providers initiated registration for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs in January and four states reported initial Medicaid incentive payments totaling $20,425,550, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced today.

In addition, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) announced that as of Feb. 11, 2011, more than 45,000 providers requested information or registration help from 62 Regional Extension Centers (RECs). RECs provide hands-on support for providers who want to adopt and become meaningful users of electronic health information technology. This early interest in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR programs reveals strong support for these programs that will advance health care through improvements in patient safety, quality of care, and patient involvement in treatment options. Eligible professionals and hospitals must register in order to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs.


Healthcare IT and Technology News: U.S. Soldiers and Veterans at Home and Abroad Touched by Lifesaving Products From Philips Healthcare

International Healthcare Technology IHT Phillips Healthcare Technology and IT Breaking News and PR

Healthcare IT and Technology News November 10, 2011.

As soldiers are being treated for more advanced medical conditions on the battlefield, more advanced medical devices are required to respond to this need. Royal Philips Electronics PHG +2.47% (aex:PHI) has a long-standing relationship with the U.S. military and Department of Veterans Affairs, and provides cutting-edge health care equipment to the battlefield and U.S. military hospitals. Multiple Philips ultrasound machines and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are deployed right now.


European Medical Providers Continue to Adopt GE Healthcare’s Vscan in Effort to Transform Their Traditional Healthcare Systems

Healthcare IT and Technology News November 16, 2011. GE Healthcare’s latest commitment to improving patient care and the global healthcare delivery system was announce in Milan, Italy as the Lombardia Ministry of Health (MoH) purchased 135 units of GE Healthcare’s pocket-sized, ultrasound medical imaging device Vscan for use by general practitioners in the region. This effort by GE Healthcare and the Lombardia MoH is not only the first of its kind for Italy, but also unique to Europe.


A Revolution in Minimally Invasive Imaging: GE Healthcare Unveils New Category of Interventional Imaging Systems

Healthcare IT and Technology News November 28, 2011.

  • First-of-its-kind Discovery IGS 730 combines benefits of floor- and ceiling-mounted imaging systems for predictable and precise positioning capabilities, enabling access to patients “like never before.”

At RSNA 2011, GE Healthcare (NYSE: GE) will reveal the Discovery IGS 730[1], the first Interventional X-ray system designed to capture the advantages of both floor- and ceiling-mounted systems. With laser-guided motion technology on a motorized mobile gantry for predictable and precise trajectories, Wide Bore 3D for ease in 3D acquisitions, and more than 20 advanced applications available, the Discovery IGS 730 is positioned for a new era of interventional procedures. The significance of this innovation to interventional imaging has been compared to that of the invention of flat panel technology.


mHealth to forge the future of healthcare in the Middle East

Healthcare IT and Technology News from International Healthcare Technology IHTHealthcare IT and Technology News November 7, 2011. Mobile health technology allows medical professionals to manage many patients remotely. This technology can monitor their conditions in real time and pass on vital statistical information between the healthcare provider and the patient. mHealth is a new and booming trend in the healthcare industry, and is set to become a trillion dollar industry allowing the delivery of better healthcare whilst positively impacting the bottom line across the range of stakeholders in the healthcare industry.


Mobile and Wireless Technology Helps Improve Healthcare


Healthcare IT and Technology News November 28, 2011.

Regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, race, education or location, the number of Americans who are obese, diabetic or suffer from heart and other chronic diseases continues to rise. But new technology is helping to improve patient wellbeing. By using mobile health products and services, such as those offered by mHealth, the wireless industry is dramatically reforming healthcare via the three pillars of reformation: improving access and quality of care while decreasing costs.


Winners announced in Cambridge Wireless Discovering Start-Ups finals

Healthcare IT and Technology News December 14, 2011

Healthcare IT and Technology News December 14, 2011. Innovation and entrepreneurship praised by investors and industry gurus.

Five new technology businesses walked away as winners at the finals of the Cambridge Wireless Discovering Start-Ups 2011 competition. Advanced Balance Systems, Blu-Wireless Technology, Mindings, Proxama and Qiqqa were selected from 20 start-ups invited to pitch their innovative wireless technologies and business plans to 25 leading venture capitalists, angels and industry investors. Senior representatives from companies including Microsoft, RIM, Nokia, Qualcomm Ventures, Innovacom, Broadcom, Orange, O2 Telefonica and ARM were there to judge the finalists and provide expert advice.


GlobalMed Races into Deloitte’s Fast 500

Healthcare IT and Technology News November 7, 2011

GlobalMed (www.globalmed.com) – the telemedicine design, manufacturing and marketing company, based in Scottsdale, Arizona – has achieved another honor for its rapid market growth. The Deloitte Technology Fast 500™, the pre-eminent technology awards program in North America, has ranked GlobalMed as Number 122 overall and the eighth fastest growing Medical Equipment firm in its 2011 list.

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