July 17, 2011
I really don’t have time for this shit and can’t afford to pay for it! Nonetheless, I have to put up with ever increasing amounts of government interference and shoulder the cost of providing them with the data they so greedily demand. So much for balancing my budget!
Case in point. I am a professed zealot when it comes to smoking. Smoking steals the health I work so hard to preserve. I ask everybody if they smoke and record their smoking status in the chart. G-d help you if you come to my office asking me to help you get well while you piss away your health sucking on emphysema/cancer sticks. Most of my patients’ either quit smoking or they quit my practice.
The government has decided that they will pay part of the cost of my electronic medical record (EMR) if I send them data on my patients smoking status. (For those of you who are paranoid, yes, Uncle Sam is watching you. Can you say “Leper”? http://livewellthy.org/2011/07/03/are-you-a-leper.aspx) My charts should be near perfect! They aren’t. The government doesn’t like where I record smoking status in my charts. I record it under social history (it is a social disorder) and the government wants it recorded under vital signs. To please Uncle Sam, I have had to go through the expense of retraining my staff and re-linking data on thousands of charts.
Why? In the “Terminator” movies, the robots/machines take over the earth, killing and enslaving mankind. It won’t be robots that enslave and kill us; it will be the EMR being forced down the throats of physicians across the United States. Mine has consumed me. It demands more “clicks” of the mouse every day. To finish a Medicare patient’s chart last week, it required 19 clicks on data points required by Uncle Sam. Data points to accumulate information that will be used to create protocols (http://livewellthy.org/2011/04/27/round-peg-in-a-square-hole.aspx) that will govern what your doc can and can’t do for you.
Who shall live and who shall die used to be up to G-d. I fear that, in the future, who shall live and who shall die will be decided by the data collected daily by Medicare and the insurers. Little did Sarah Palin know that her “death panels” were already in place. Welcome to the world of the EMR where every click is counted, tabulated, and processed by big brother.
So, what’s the big deal if I have smoking status under the social section of your chart as opposed to under vital signs? I’m being trained to perform and make my new master happy. “Good PCP, here’s your morsel. Now go collect more data!” I thing I will quit being a PCP and go back to being a DOCTOR!