Despite my exclusive use of an electronic medical record, I still receive dozens of medical communications on paper every day.
Many times, government agencies and payers put demands on physicians that disrupt workflow. These demands come on top of the already extensive disruptions and intrusions physicians experience. As they decide or are required to move from a paper to an electronic health record, Texas must carefully consider the impact of any new regulatory burdens placed on the physician practice, especially when many of these burdens do nothing to improve care quality. For instance, to achieve the goals of “meaningful use,” the federal government requires that physicians have a system that tracks patients’ height, weight, and blood pressure as part of “structured data.” This is required even if the physician practices a specialty where height and weight play little or no role in the medical care they provide to patients. Do patients really want to be weighed at the ophthalmologist when updating their eyeglass prescription? According to the federal government, if a physician “believes that one or two of these vital signs are relevant to their scope of practice, then they must record all three vital signs in order to meet the measure of this objective and successfully demonstrate meaningful use.” Texas should not repeat the mistakes of the federal government.