Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Doccupy, EHRs and the Affordable Care Act

It’s rare for doctors to turn out en masse for a public protest. But that’s what happened at “Doccupy” in Contra Costa County California in 2012. A group of safety net physicians testified before county supervisors — in what they only half-jokingly called “Doccupy” — that the cumbersome move to electronic health records (EHRs) had taken an enormous toll on patient care. The doctors saw half their usual number of patients. As a result, they told supervisors, one in ten patients left the emergency room without being seen and wait times ballooned from one to four hours — with one person waiting 40 hours for a hospital bed.
This protest came on the heels of a letter from a group of county jail nurses asserting concerns about the same electronic records system. A subsequent NYT article pointed out additional productivity and patient safety issues raised about electronic medical records at other locations, even from health care establishments as impressive as the Mayo Clinic.
It might be tempting to think of these stories as an aberrant blip. But surveys show Doccupy may have just been the first sign of trouble with electronic health records nationwide:
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