July 28, 2017

B. McCaughey - stop making docs slaves to computers

Jack Kemp

http://nypost.com/2017/07/25/stop-making-doctors-the-slaves-of-computers/?utm_campaign=SocialFlow&utm_source=NYPTwitter&utm_medium=SocialFlow


Stop making doctors the slaves of computers


"The doctor will see you now.” It’s a common phrase, but no longer true. Even in the exam room, you’re unlikely to make more than fleeting eye contact with your doctor.

That’s because federal laws and regulations have turned doctors into robotic clerks. Your doctor has to stay glued to the computer screen, clicking boxes, following prompts and posing questions the federal government wants asked, never mind your reasons for being there. The biggest loser is you, the patient.

But help is on the way. The Trump administration has started rolling back these regulations. Fortunately, this regulatory relief does not depend on repealing ObamaCare.

You can blame former President Barack Obama for the demise of the eye-to-eye conversation with your doctor. Back in 2009, he signed into law the HITECH Act, compelling doctors and hospitals that accept Medicare or Medicaid payments to use electronic medical record systems in a "meaningful” way — or pay a hefty penalty.

What’s "meaningful”? Obama’s tech czar Dr. David Blumenthal explained that it’s not just about getting rid of paper files and "putting machinery in offices.” Blumenthal, an admirer of European-style, single-payer health care, wanted top-down control of how doctors practice. "Meaningful” meant doctors following "embedded clinical decision supports.” Translation: The feds wanted computers telling doctors what to do.

The Obama administration claimed this centralized approach would improve care and save money. It’s done the opposite. Primary care doctors spend as much time following computer commands as they do interacting with their patients, according to a recent study in Health Affairs.

Jeffrey Moses, an interventional cardiologist at Columbia Presbyterian, complains the system is "taking the doctor’s eyes off the patient.” It places "little value on the doctor patient bond,” he adds.

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