Affording EMR Systems

This is from the Wall Street Journal:

The good news: "the software used to power the electronic medical-record system of the Veterans Health Administration" is available for free.

The bad news:

Mike Kappel, senior vice president of government and industry relations at McKesson, says once hospitals pay companies to deploy the VA software and the necessary service, training and upgrades it requires, the cost won't be much different than that of a commercial electronic medical- record system. Big vendors can work with hospitals to provide more reliable systems within their budget, he adds.

Comments (3)

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  1. Ken says:

    Is it just me, or do others agree that there would be no problem here but for third party payer bureacracies — especially the government?

    Can you think of any other industry where there is so much commotion about when, how, and whether to use computers?

  2. Linda Gorman says:

    Well, there’s air traffic control where the FAA has been trying to modernize for decades. Of course Canada and the other countries that actually have modern facilities did it by creating private corporations to run ATC.

    But as in health care, government is again the problem rather than the solution.

  3. Michael Kirsch, M.D. says:

    While cost is an important consideration in adopting electronic medical records, there are may other obstacles that physicians face. Many of these are detailed on Our office intends to implement EMR this year, thanks to Obama’s generosity, but we expect the process to be painful culturally and financially. Will it really save money as promised? EMR proponents offer seductive arguments, but I’m skeptical about their follow-through and the end result.