Doctors’ Documentation Methods Not Ready for EMR

An interesting link came across my twitter stream tonight that suggested that doctors aren’t ready for electronic medical records. Here’s a short section that basically captures the bloggers point:

Last week, a blog in the Houston Chronicle cited some staggering figures about the Texas Medical Board’s announced disciplinary actions against 70 doctors, 12 of whom were in the Houston area alone.

Of those 12, nine lost their licenses, were financially penalized, or are required to attend training because of their lack of proper medical record keeping. Four actions were specifically related to failed record-keeping practices.

And this isn’t the first time this has happened in Texas by a long shot — in November 2009, 75 actions were taken against physicians, and 28 of those were related to improper record keeping.

Hopefully, Texas will set a precedent and other states will start taking a harder look at this issue, especially with the pending incentives to increase the use of EMR/EHR.

I think this points out what I (and many others) have said previously, however: Simply moving from physical-format records to electronic records is not going to improve the quality of diagnostics and healthcare.

I personally am not convinced that this really matters. In fact, if anything an EMR will expose those doctors who have poor documentation methods. I think that’s a very good thing to have happen. I want them to be exposed and held accountable for their poor documentation. That’s better for the healthcare system as a whole.

One other interesting part of the article was that it said that the “punishment” for some of the above violations was being required to attend a CME training for medical writing. Next up is a CME training for medical writing in an EMR?

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

1 Comment

  • I think this is a great find. All too often I am confronted with the Doctors office that believes in going forward with EMR but doesn’t proceed on the basis that he/she will never get in sued for the mismanagement of records.
    If this helps any doctor get off the fence and move forward it is a good thing. I also think it makes a strong case for my EMR solution that allows Doctors to keep using the paper and just digitize it in an effort to become more responsible and move forward.

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