The EHR Kool-Aid
Fam Pract Manag. 2009 May-June;16(3):7.
Thank you for bringing The Wall Street Journal article “Obama's $80 Billion Exaggeration” to our attention (White B. Noteworthy Blog. Leawood, Kan: FPM/AAFP. March 16, 2009. Available from: http://blogs.aafp.org/fpm/noteworthy/entry/the_unsubstantiated_benefits_of_emrs). There have been similar recent articles in The New York Times and Time magazine questioning the claims that have been made regarding electronic health records (EHRs). You correctly state that “not everyone is drinking the Kool-Aid.” Unfortunately, for the past 10 years, the AAFP and FPM have been major pushers of the EHR Kool-Aid (and also, now, of the patient-centered-medical-home-flavored drink).
Practicing physicians have watched in dismay as anecdote-based fantasies have been presented as indisputable truth about the benefits of EHRs. It is good that the The Wall Street Journal has given us some of the facts on this subject, but wouldn't it have been better for us to get this information from our professional organization? I hope this blog posting indicates that FPM will now be taking a more balanced and evidence-based approach when reporting on EHRs.
Editor's note: While we can't speak for the Academy, FPM does try to maintain a balanced view of EHRs and other health information technology. If you think the Kool-Aid tastes a little funny, you might want to revisit a couple of FPM articles for the antidote: “EHRs Fix Everything – and Nine Other Myths” and “E-Nirvana: Are We There Yet?.”
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