Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pizza Order 2012 and Your Healthcare

I never thought I would see the day when EHRs are on the aisles with soap flakes and socks, commented David Brailer MD, former federal healthcare IT czar, “EHRs have truly become mainstream American products.”
-David Brailer, MD
(Former Federal Healthcare IT Czar)

Sam's Club Begins Selling Electronic Health Records (EMRs)

In Your Shorts, USA – Pepperoni with your prednisone? You order, WE DECIDE.

Soon, your pizza orders will be openly cross-linked with your personal health care and domestic spending records courtesy your taxpayer dime via the Stimulus bill. As LWOH has reported here, solutions like EMR's are a taxpayer giveaway to privacy invasive, for-profit companies (some who outsource or insource) and do nothing to provide funds for medical research and development along with much needed health care ACCESS to over 47 million Americans without health care coverage. (Not that they're supposed to.)

Regarding Dr. Brailer's quote above, electronic medical records (EMRs) will not be stocked in the aisles like other staples, per se. EHRs will be available through Wal-Mart's subsidiary, Sam’s Club online, according to this Healthcare IT News article.

The news that Bentonville, AR based Wal-Mart is entering the electronic medical record (EMR) market via its Sam’s Club subsidiary has been a hotly disputed topic, with most physicians raising doubts about how the arguably unnecessary and privacy invasive datamining software can possibly benefit their patients or their practices. The EMR offering is the result of collaboration among Sam’s Club, Westborough, Mass.-based eClinicalWorks (eCW) and Round Rock, Texas-based Dell. 
The New York Times first leaked the story in March, but the companies waited to release the details at the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society’s annual conference in Chicago last month. Lack of details surrounding the EMR, led to many questions about how Wal-Mart would pull it off.”

It's also  good to know that altruistic, for-profit businessmen are out there working hard alongside our government to provide development opportunities and sell technology which relieves the American taxpayer of their money (health care  insurance mandate) and privacy via datamining health care solutions instead of, for example,  applying taxpayer funds to develop a cure for cancer and to enact Single Payer. 
Do No Evil? Privacy and job concerns? Let's hope that the burgeoning electronic health care records  market creates a tidal wave of job opportunities for physicians and the private sector alike.  It should  be easy. The stealth for-profit electronic medical record (EMR) sector including Google Health and Microsoft, among others, are  doing what they do best: getting Joe Taxpayer to foot the bill for their profiteering. Isn't that what businesses are supposed to do? Food for thought: 

Given Google's goal of "organizing all information" it's not surprising they're tackling electronic medical records. It's a huge data set waiting to be mined - assuming that Google has no compunctions about compiling and sifting through that information to produce much more accurate epidemiological studies (or is that "to better target advertising to the health care consumer?" 
As a $787 billion “economic stimulus law,” the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) which was signed by President Obama on February 17, 2009, launched new federal mandates for health information technology ("HIT") and privacy of personally identifiable information (“PII”), both on “ordinary” identity theft and on specially protected health information under HIPAA. It inaugurates a $200 million Health IT czar (our official “HIT Man”) to define and manage standards for electronic health records (“EHR”). Is HIT going to be a real “hit”? Amidst all of these challenges, there is no doubt that the EHR market is primed for huge growth in years to come.

HIT even throws its own summits! 


Anonymous said...

Thank Ted Kennedy for opening up the floodgates to cheap and shoddy labor from India.

2Truthy said...

Anon, How tied up was Ted Kennedy in the insurance/tech lobby? The link between Ted Kennedy's ardent support for single payer, universal healthcare coverage and his less than admirable, yet undisputed, major role in H-1B visa and green card legislation which continue to cost US workers jobs and drive down wages are (were) at odds.

He was the consummate politician, seeking bipartisan compromise on a wide spectrum of otherwise noble legislation from civil rights and minimum wage rights in this country to human rights across the globe. All good.

Unfortunately, the insurance industry/tech lobby sponsored electronic medical records (EHRs) that US taxpayers are subsidizing under this administration is going to prop up the same healthcare/tech industry corporate players (individuals) who profit from the cheap labor outsourcing of US jobs that Ted Kennedy contributed to via his major role in H-1B/green card visa legislation. That was his ultimate failing - he was such a wealthy man, insulated from the millions of educated non-uber wealthy middle class US citizens who paid for his political civil right's successes with their jobs, homes, and health and will continue to do so under these policies unless they are scrapped.

Did Ted Kennedy work to improve the lives of educated middle class workers? The EHR market (that this post addresses) is full of non-US citizen contractors and vendors, which is curious during this economic depression when millions of US IT workers could be hired to do this work. Also, the AARA $30+ billion in subsidies is propping them up. I don't know whether Ted Kennedy supported this or if so, to what extent. But he won't be remembered for any of this, as bipartisan elites in the One Big Party of money will pick up this US labor displacement/arbitrage where he left off. Despite it all, his sincere contributions to civil and human rights issues will live on in his memory.

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Site Administrator said...

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Anonymous said...

If the health records could all be automated easily for physicians to use, then this trend could be promising.

2Truthy said...

Absolutely. The development and marketing of EHRs to the medical industry can not be unlike any other growth industry, where trial and error come first before enhanced productivity and job market stimulation emerges. Medical teams and EHR suppliers should have every opportunity to contribute to both outcomes.


Port Dickinson, here. Great post! Doctors likely can not stand any of this. Privacy and SAFETY issues are a top priority for REAL doctors, donchaknow?