Why Appropriate Use Outweighs Meaningful Use Of EHR Systems

Kyle Murphy | EHR Intelligence | September 24, 2013

For primary care physicians trained and working with paper records for decades, the introduction of health information technology, specifically EHR systems, into the exam represented a departure from traditional practice as well as a potential disaster if not approached appropriately.

“The EMR as a chart is a two-edge sword in medicine. It can do you more good, do the patient more good than just about any other tool we have, but also it has the capability of destroying a practice more completely than any other tool we have,” says Peter Anderson, MD, a primary care physician operating his own practice in Virginia.

After more than 15 years of successful practice, Anderson made the move to adopt an EMR system at the urging of his system in 1998 to disastrous results.

“I started practice in 1982, so by 1998 I had a pretty typical family practice and doing well. But our system wanted to go ahead and put us on an EMR,” he says, “By 2003, my office was a shipwreck. I had gone from 20 years of fairly successful practice to an office that was pretty much collapsing — we couldn’t pay the bills, my staff was unhappy, my patients were frustrated because I was never available.”