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EMRs are Just Billing Machines

Daniel Paull M.D.: Why doctors hate EMRs

Why physicians almost universally hate EMRs (electronic medical records): they are billing machines with little care for actual notetaking.

Way before Medicare times, physicians would take notes on their patients, sometimes on index cards, and keep them so that next time the patient came in, they knew where to start. No one audited these notes, there was no billing associated with them, and they were essentially private.

 

Way before Medicare times, physicians would take notes on their patients, sometimes on index cards, and keep them so that next time the patient came in, they knew where to start. Click To Tweet

 

Now insurance companies demand to see notes with the ethos of “if you didn’t document it, you didn’t do it”.

More than that, if you use the wrong code or forget to fill in a box and they also won’t pay you. These “rules” are often arbitrary, differ between insurance companies, and are constantly changing.

In an effort to keep up with insurance companies, EMR companies have created billing machines to make sure all of the boxes get ticked. You could write a perfectly clinically useless note that will still get you paid in this system. We see it all the time.

So physicians almost universally hate every EMR because they are billing machines. It turns a physician into a biller, something that none of us want to do because it moves us farther away from patient care.

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