Sloppy EHR reporting is unfair to consumers, providers

There certainly has been criticism of EHRs and/or the Meaningful Use program from all corners: providers, patients, vendors, Congress.  But this criticism of the Meaningful Use program from Fox News is so off the mark it's worth laughing at--if the mistakes in it weren't so sad.  

It's certainly not the first time that national media has misunderstood EHRs and related law.  But Fox News took a legitimate issue--that EHRs don't share data well--and then fell short when it came to reporting it.

For one, the article blames the computer problems that the health insurance exchanges are encountering on lack of EHR interoperability. The two have nothing to do with each other.   

The article then quotes the head of personal health record patent company MMR Global, presumably an insider, who blames the health insurance exchange enrollment "bottleneck" on the fact that the Meaningful Use incentive money went to providers and not to enrollment. They also have nothing to do with each other. They don't even derive from the same law.

The article also says that providers are "enriching themselves" and intentionally installing EHRs that are not interoperable, implying that they're deliberately choosing inferior EHR systems just to obtain the incentive payments. That's just silly.   

The article states that the incentive money is going to vendors who have ties to the Obama Administration, who "tinkered" with their EHRs but didn't make them interoperable.  The vendors certainly have made a lot of money selling their products, but the incentive money goes to the providers who adopt and meaningfully use their EHRs.

Then it says that had the industry used personal health records, rather than EHRs, implementation would have cost billions of dollars less. Too bad that the author doesn't know the difference between a personal health record and an EHR. 

And that's just a fraction of the nonsense.

But not one word on the fact that Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use program requires interoperability, that in fact the industry is making progress in providing interoperability, and that providers will soon be penalized if they don't meet Stage 2's data sharing and other requirements.

Whatever happened to simple fact checking?

It's disappointing, really. Fox News is a big outfit, and had a real opportunity to address an ongoing technology and business concern. But by misconstruing so many of the facts, all it did is push its political agenda. The article can't be taken seriously, at least by those of us who are familiar with topic or willing to become so.  All it will do is further confuse consumers and drive a wedge between them and their EHR-using caregivers. Just read the comments. They're full of misinformation. And vitriolic.

Sure, there are plenty of problems with EHRs and interoperability. I have not been shy about addressing them. But this drivel?

Journalists are supposed to inform and educate. This Fox News article does neither.