AHIC reviews, sends back EHR recommendations

The American Health Information Community on Tuesday sent back for revision a list of recommendations by its work group on electronic health records aimed at boosting EHR adoption, including a controversial incentive proposal that would reward doctors who have EHRs, but penalize those who do not.

David Brailer, co-chairman of the AHIC, a public-private policy healthcare information technology policy advisory panel created by HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt in 2005, asked fellow AHIC member and EHR work group leader Lillee Smith Gelinas to take the recommendations and tweak their language and have them checked by lawyers.

Finally, Brailer advised Gelinas, vice president of clinical performance at group purchasing organization VHA, that the EHR work group should “have some forum with an open hearing so we can have more debate” on the proposals.

{AHIC does not recognize that many physicians choose not to use electronic medical records systems because the privacy and security risks are far greater than in paper systems. Even though ‘smart’ technology exists that can get electronic consent instantly and share some of our data while blocking access to the rest, electronic authorization and consent technologies are not widely used. Today, most health data sharing is determined by what providers want access to, not what patients give consent for. The AHIC EHR plan to reward doctors for buying electronic systems that do not protect the privacy of medical records is not only expensive but bad policy. Why buy defective products? If the government is going to pay doctors to buy and use electronic records systems, it should first require that they have state-of-the-art privacy and security measures. Pay-for-Performance schemes raise other serious problems. Instead of national medical specialty organizations using science and clinical wisdom to decide the standards for effective treatment, industry-driven organizations are setting standards for medical care. Who do you want to decide what the best treatment is for you? ~ Dr. Deborah Peel, Patient Privacy Righ

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