electronic health records

Death By 1,000 Clicks: Where Electronic Health Records Went Wrong

Mar 19, 2019
Bobby and Tara Dilliplaine hold a photo of daughter Brooke, who suffered complications when she was given medication she was allergic to. (She later died of causes unrelated to the EHR issue.)
Heidi de Marco / Kaiser Health News

The pain radiated from the top of Annette Monachelli’s head, and it got worse when she changed positions. It didn’t feel like her usual migraine. The 47-year-old Vermont attorney turned innkeeper visited her local doctor at the Stowe Family Practice twice about the problem in late November 2012, but got little relief. 

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Florida hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers and emergency departments are required to electronically submit data to the state about patients who are discharged. But a recent survey of those providers showed that nearly 78 percent of respondents reported having data rejected most of the time.

To an outsider, the fancy booths at a June health insurance industry gathering in San Diego, Calif., aren't very compelling: a handful of companies pitching "lifestyle" data and salespeople touting jargony phrases like "social determinants of health."

But dig deeper and the implications of what they're selling might give many patients pause: a future in which everything you do — the things you buy, the food you eat, the time you spend watching TV — may help determine how much you pay for health insurance.

Chances are your doctor has stopped taking notes with pen and paper and moved to computer records. That is supposed to help coordinate your care.

Increasingly, researchers are also exploring these computerized records for medical studies and gleaning facts that help individual patients get better care.

Health Management Associates (HMA), based in Naples, has filed a report with the SEC admitting that it collected more government funds for switching to electronic health records than it deserved. HMA is in the process of repaying $31 million to the federal government, as Tampa Bay Business Journal reports.

St. Petersburg cardiologist David Mokotoff offers a lighthearted rant, published on the physicians' blog KevinMD.com, against the many ways that corporate hospital systems misuse physicians' time, making them unproductive and driving them crazy.

His cardiology group deals with four different hospital systems, all of which have different electronic health record systems -- some decent, some not.