Posted: November 11, 2012

Electronic medical records were supposed to further  improve health care  if patients could review their own record online .  Earlier studies suggested that once patients could view their own EMR  face-to-face office visits were reduced in frequency as were visits to the Emergency Department.  Now a study in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (click here to view) strongly suggests that all the adverse outcomes that patient-available EMR’s were supposed to prevent are happening at a higher frequency instead — viz., office visits, phone calls, after-hours visits, ED visits and even hospital admissions.  These result runs counter to that observed in other studies and are forcing the architects of our health-delivery system to run for cover and try to figure out why.  Dr. Stark has opined in prior postings and lectures he has given that the EMR is not inherently bad but that it is so poorly designed and executed that it interferes with the desired outcomes.  This study confirms his observations and leaves patients and providers wondering what happens next.  The EMR is a multi-billion-dollar experiment that thus far has not yielded any of the anticipated outcomes.