Physician says EMR backers are overstating their case

At least one physician believes there simply isn't enough evidence right now to support President Obama's claim, based on a 2005 Rand Corp. study, that a nationwide system of interoperable electronic health records will improve patient care, cut down on malpractice claims and reduce healthcare costs by $80 billion annually.

In an editorial published this month, Dr. Douglas W. Jackson, chief medical editor of Orthopedics Today, criticizes the Rand study for being "scientifically weak" and funded by companies that stand to profit from wider health IT adoption. While Jackson does say that EMRs may have significant long-term benefits, the up-front costs of acquiring technology may greatly outweigh the financial incentives in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. He also wonders if the certification requirements in the stimulus law may effectively freeze out technological innovation.

To learn more about Jackson's position:
- read his Orthopedics Today editorial