Physician wants Florida medical board to warn docs of EMR hazards

A member of the Florida Board of Medicine is pushing the board to issue a statewide warning that EMRs could cause more errors than they present.

"I think the Department of Health needs to put out a warning to physicians that they need to look at their programs' default settings," West Palm Beach dermatologist Steven P. Rosenberg said a recent board meeting, reports the Palm Beach Post. "This year we have seen as many if not more medical records violations from electronic medical records as we saw from hand-written records violations."

Rosenberg spoke of a woman not knowing for four years that she had had abnormal Pap smears because the EMR used by her physician defaulted to an old test result that was in the normal range. The woman, who testified at the board meeting, eventually needed a hysterectomy after she developed cancer and will never be able to have children. "There was another case where the record of a woman with a hysterectomy said she had a normal cervix. She didn't have a cervix any more," Rosenberg added.

Rosenberg clarified his remarks in an interview with Healthcare IT News by saying that he's "not against EMRs and not against government incentives that would improve healthcare," but believes that there needs to be more research on the efficacy and risks of using EMRs before the federal government shells out billions to help physicians adopt electronic systems. "Government agencies need to do more due diligence to make sure programs are going to be worth the investment," he explained.

"Physicians are seeing these large records that are totally irrelevant to the patient's actual problem," Rosenberg said about some EMRs. "You may be able to generate a three-page report by simply tapping on the screen, which is impressive, but it doesn't mean that the care provided is."

For more information:
- check out this Palm Beach Post story
- read this Healthcare IT News follow-up