Annual Technology Costs for Physicians is More than $32,500

The average amount spent per doctor each year on health information technology (HIT) by physician-owned multispecialty practices is $9405 for IT staff and $23,187 for equipment, hardware, and upkeep. The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) reported a 40% increase in IT costs from 2009 to 2016. Physicians are penalized with payment reductions for not maintaining the government mandated technology infrastructure. “You’ve got to have the bells and whistles, and those don’t come cheap,” described Rob Tennant, MA, MGMA’s HIT Policy director. The snippet above is from the Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom e-Newsletter.  It highlights the fact that the overhead expenses … Continue reading

Maine Heritage Policy Center Releases Report on Direct Primary Care

July 6, 2016 Today I had the pleasure of being invited to the Hall of Flags at the Maine State House to give some remarks about the newly released report from the Maine Heritage Policy Center entitled “Restoring The Doctor-Patient Relationship, How Entrepreneurship Is Revolutionizing Health Care In Maine.”  It is a research project authored by Liam Siguad doing an analysis on Direct Primary Care (DPC) in Maine. I am admittedly biased on the subject, but I think it was very well done.  It is a concise summary of what DPC is, who is doing it, and how it can … Continue reading

FIRST THE BREXIT, NOW THE DREXIT?

  There is a lot of attention being paid to the surprise move by the people of the United Kingdom who last week voted to exercise their right to opt out of the European Union, aka “The Brexit.”  Those who benefit from maintaining the status quo are shocked and aghast.  They should not have been so unprepared for the result.  When you oppress a free people long enough and make them do things that they know are against their own self interest, and may even bring about the end of their own existence as they know it, at some point, … Continue reading

Collecting Your Data Through Employer Wellness Programs

Most employers, especially small to medium sized businesses really have their employees’ best interest at heart.  They know that happy and healthy employees are absent from their job less and are more productive.  I have talked to many and truly believe that they have no other agenda than maintaining a healthy workforce, with the side benefit of having lower insurance costs as a result. That being said, it is scary to think that some of these programs are subject to third party data mining without the express consent of the employees.  I see this as a violation of their personal … Continue reading

Is Your Hospital Next?

From the Citizen’s Council for Health Care Freedom e-newsletter:  Hacker attacks using ‘ransomware’ endanger patient lives. Recent attacks on electronic health record (EHR) systems have disabled hospitals full of sick and dying patients. Under this digital extortion scheme, hackers infect EHR systems with malware that locks down hospital computers and then demand Bitcoin ransom payments to decrypt the data. In 2014, ransomware thieves extorted $27 million in just six months. Some IT experts worry ransomware could be the downfall of health care. Hospitals areparticularly vulnerable to these crimes: “Without quick access to drug histories, surgery directives and other information, patient care can get delayed or halted, which … Continue reading

The Future of Health Tracking

From the Citizens Council For Health Care Freedom E-Newsletter: Health ‘apps’ are becoming increasingly common on smartphones. The authors of a study on diabetes ‘apps’ wrote, “This study demonstrated that diabetes apps shared information with third parties, posing privacy risks because there are no federal legal protections against the sale or disclosure of data from medical apps to third parties.” Devices are being incorporated into some medications in addition to wearable or implanted devices that collect and transmit data. NYU ethicist Arthur Caplan asks the question: “Which parties get to watch?” … Continue reading

What Has the Physician World Become? There is a way out! By Dr. Arvind Cavale

In our practice, we experimented with electronic medical records for a little over a year before finally pulling the plug on them.  They added several hours to my workday, none of those extra hours of work, keeping me away from my family, helped a single patient.  I cannot remember a single time that my EMR gave me a shred of useful clinical output, despite my spending thousands of hours inputting data. I could not agree with Dr. Cavale’s sentiments more.   Like him, I like technology, but only when it helps me and my patients.   Michael A. Ciampi, M.D.   … Continue reading

Why Thousands of Doctors Still Don’t Use Electronic Records

From the March 2016 edition of Governing Magazine: HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES Why Thousands of Doctors Still Don’t Use Electronic Records With federal incentives to go electronic expiring this year, many wonder what can be done to reach physicians who still rely on paper. BY MATTIE QUINN | MARCH 2016 (AP)           Michael Ciampi runs a family medical practice in Portland, Maine, that’s still entirely reliant on paper records. He has no plans to implement an electronic health records system anytime soon. Ciampi doesn’t have anything against technology, but a failed attempt to go electronic several years ago … Continue reading

Electronic Medical Records:The Potemkin Village of Healthcare

I truly believe that the 12 page boilerplate notes generated by a hospital EMR system for a problem that would have been a paragraph or two in a paper chart actually will be proven to be dangerous. Because the information is not concise, it is hard for clinicians to sift through all the prefabricated chaff to find the few grains of pertinent information. Also, once erroneous information is entered into a system’s EMR, it is there for eternity. In a paper chart, you put a line through it and initial it. Problem solved. EMRs are a boon for tech companies, … Continue reading

So You Think HIPAA Protects Your Privacy?…WRONG!

About 20 years ago, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) was passed during the Clinton Administration under the guise of improving standards and enforcement of patient privacy.  The government maintained that people’s personal health information might be at risk because of loose lipped or malicious health care professionals.  They invented a health privacy crisis that, at the time, did not exist.  Remember, there were almost no electronic medical records in 1996, so there was very little out there to be hacked back then.  The government maintained that the time honored Hippocratic Oath that physicians have sworn to uphold for many … Continue reading