Friday, January 25, 2013

Electronic Medical Records Encourage Fraud?

Unfortunately, this is all too believable.  With a paper record, it's all too obvious if someone “pastes” in a template (though I've actually seen this done in a few of my own medical records).  With an electronic record, at least with current technology, there's no way to detect this.  I share Megan McArdle's angst about this.

I have no doubt that this is an unintended consequence of Obama's electronic medical record mandate, just as I also have no doubt that there are good consequences of having them.  However, it also seems like something that could have been shaken out in a more orderly, market-driven rollout.  Mandates such as this have another unintended effect: the motivation of the vendors is no longer function and quality driven (as a competitive marketplace would drive); instead it's focused on delivering a product that meets the minimum mandated requirements as quickly as possible.  The “first mover advantage” in such situations completely outweighs any normal competitive issues.  Result: you get a product that looks exactly like what it is – a designed-by-government-committee mess.

Our country is in the very best of hands...

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