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Healthcare Reform: Technology: Can Catch Cheaters

The very first clause of the Obama/Biden Healthcare Reform is such an obvious benefit, I really don’t see why there’s so much pushback — except that it would reveal some poor industry practices.  Let me first post a refresher for those who have been too lazy disinterested busy to read a single word of the objectives before posting arguments:

(1) INVEST IN ELECTRONIC HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS. Most medical records are still

stored on paper, which makes them difficult to use to coordinate care, measure quality, or reduce medical errors.

Processing paper claims also costs twice as much as processing electronic claims. Barack Obama and Joe

Biden will invest $10 billion a year over the next five years to move the U.S. health care system to broad

adoption of standards-based electronic health information systems, including electronic health records.  They

will also phase in requirements for full implementation of health IT and commit the necessary federal resources

to make it happen.  Barack Obama and Joe Biden will ensure that these systems are developed in coordination

with providers and frontline workers, including those in rural and underserved areas. Barack Obama and Joe

Biden will ensure that patients’ privacy is protected.  A study by the Rand Corporation found that if most

hospitals and doctors offices adopted electronic health records, up to $77 billion of savings would be realized

each year through improvements such as reduced hospital stays, avoitesting, more appropriate drug utilization, and other efficiencies.


So what’s the big deal of making things efficient?

HIPAA defines the patient-confidentiality regulations, so there’s nothing new.

How about drug/drug conflicts?  This enables an automation that is a second/third set of eyes to support the overworked staff pharmacists who routinely catch drug conflicts in prescriptions.  When they don’t, it’s the patient’s family members who often see what the pharmacist hadn’t seen — too busy, or they had a human moment.  Even as the pharmacy experts to support doctors and nurses who already know a considerable amount of their craft, pharmacists make errors too.

No, it’s the habit that the family members tend to catch that will be stopped: double-booking.  A friend of mine was helping her mother in the hospital, and in addition to the occasional drug conflict she would recognize, she also found that the hospital had booked her mother into three beds at once, or into intensive care but had never moved her nor changed the level of attention that she received.

I have a lot of respect for medical-care professionals be they physical or mental, pre-op, post-op, avoiding-op, OB/Gyn, pediatrician, etc.  Even Bob Bloom, the massive psych nurse, whose size/power and chill nature both helped calm psych patients when they got excited.

I don’t have respect for the little lies that get swept under the rug because no one cross-checks.

…and I don’t respect those who protect liars.

I’m sure that’s a component of the push-back on what’s obviously a good thing, this dragging of the medical information systems into the 20th century, even if we’re now in the 21st.

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