One doc's take on Meaningful Use: 'Damn the mandates'

Doctors should stop allowing nonphysicians to dictate the use of electronic health records and other aspects of practice, according to Daniel Craviotto, an orthopedic surgeon in Santa Barbara, California, and a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

Craviotto, in a recent op-ed piece published in the Wall Street Journal, lashes out against Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services-required EHRs, lamenting that Meaningful Use requires him to spend two hours a day dictating and documenting into his EHR just to be paid and not face a government audit. He also notes that many physicians using EHRs are very unhappy with them, and wonders when doctors will just say "damn the mandates."

Added to physicians' woes are other factors, such as the burden of board recertification and lack of control over what they can charge for their services. Craviotto points out that others, such as the legal profession or labor unions, would not stand for such treatment, adding that physicians just "plod along" treating their patients. He does not suggest why physicians are so complacent, but does rally a battle cry. 

"We could change the paradigm," he says. "We could as a group elect not to take any insurance, not to accept Medicare--many doctors are already taking these steps--and not to roll over time and time again. We have let nearly everyone trespass on the practice of medicine. ... Now is the time for physicians to say enough is enough."

Craviotto, however, does not suggest that physicians stop using EHRs.

There have been numerous reports of physician dissatisfaction with EHRs and Meaningful Use. However, the tide may be slowly turning, at least for EHRs themselves, as physicians become more used to the systems and receive better vendor support.

To learn more:
- read the op-ed piece