Healthcare reform is forcing medical students to learn about the financial costs of the tests they order, as well as their clinical importance. Once a taboo topic, it’s being openly taught to students to prepare them for practice.
At Harvard, one physician in training duplicated television’s “The Price is Right” to keep his peers guessing at the costs of tests on a patient’s bill. Molly Cooke, FACP, a Regent of the College, encourages doctors to consider the value of the tests they order as they deliver care. (Kaiser Health News, New England Journal of Medicine)
The price isn’t right for electronic medical records. Even $44,000 in stimulus money isn’t enough to make doctors jump into using computers.
Robert LeBow, FACP, explains why he’s resisting converting to EHRs: lost productivity, increased training, and a purchase price more than twice what the stimulus dollars would offer. ACP Internist’s May issue reports that the federal government’s substantial incentive program for electronic health records is no reason to rush out and buy one. And surgeon Pauline Chen explains that EMRs can distract doctors from communicating with their patients. (Boston Globe, ACP Internist, New York Times)
Physicians who resist these advances might be forced into them anyway. Healthcare reform is encouraging doctors to adopt aspects of the patient-centered medical home, a practice model that encourages doctors to join a broader team of providers linked by EHRs, among other advances. ACP President J. Fred Ralston, FACP, explains how he is moving toward that, and why. (Washington Post, ACP Internist)
*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*