Monday, March 17, 2008

Pay for Performance (P4P) and Electronic Medical Records (EMRs)

I don't wish to get deep into politics, so I will speak in generalities. Some of the presidential candidates are strong advocates for P4P initiatives. However, many clinicians feel that they should not be penalized for having patients who are poorly compliant or who have difficult-to-control conditions.

Will the strong push for P4P cause more clinicians to adopt EMRs? Many analysts seem to think so, but I'm not so sure. Unless the federal government can do something to truly force clinicians to convert to EMRs, I think many, if not most, will remain reluctant to use computers for patient records. After all, the investment from a financial and time perspective is enormous. Although the benefits are also great, if people have delayed this long, they're probably waiting indefinitely.

How will this year's election impact the healthcare system? Will we really see some type of universal healthcare coverage in the USA? It will be interesting to look back and see changes regarding P4P, EMRs, and universal healthcare coverage. Companies that develop EMRs may see a real boost in their business if some federally-mandated changes occur. What type of reduction in medical errors will we see if e-prescribing initiatives sweep the nation?

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