In a slow-motion version of the problems that crippled online insurance "exchanges" for months, doctors who see patients under Medicare and Medi-Cal programs have been forced by federal law to install expensive, complex software systems that sharply reduce time for patients. For many doctors, it's the final straw. Surveys suggest that older physicians are retiring in high numbers. Younger ones are closing practices and taking jobs with integrated health systems.
Nearly 70 percent of physicians say digitizing patient records has not been worth the cost, according to a survey by Medical Economics magazine. This negative cost-benefit view comes even after $27 billion in subsidies to health care providers for the systems.
One big problem is the dozens of systems don't talk to each other, because the feds didn't mandate interoperability before the rollout.
So communication gains among hospitals, clinics and doctors offices aren't happening. Adding insult, doctors can be criminally liable if hackers get hold of patient data.
Worse is the hit to productivity.