February 20, 2013

#Obamacare and digital medical records - John Doe can't win

At least not so far. Currently, the big "winner" in digitizing medical records is not patients, getting more reliable treatment when moving from doctor to doctor or hospital to hospital, but companies that do the work of digitizing records.

While proponents say new record-keeping technologies will one day reduce costs and improve care, profits and sales are soaring now across the records industry. At Allscripts, annual sales have more than doubled from $548 million in 2009 to an estimated $1.44 billion last year.
Gee, what a shock.

"Shock" No. 2 — how this happened, including the revolving government-industry door of "the most transparent administration in history.
None of that would have happened without the health records legislation that was included in the 2009 economic stimulus bill — and the lobbying that helped produce it. Along the way, the records industry made hundreds of thousands of dollars of political contributions to both Democrats and Republicans. In some cases, the ties went deeper. Glen E. Tullman, until recently the chief executive of Allscripts, was health technology adviser to the 2008 Obama campaign. As C.E.O. of Allscripts, he visited the White House no fewer than seven times after President Obama took office in 2009, according to White House records.  
So, as more and more of Obamacare gets implemented, let's be prepared for more and more real shocks of how it doesn't save so much money after all, and more and more fake "shocks" of how that came to be.

Of course, for some, IOKIYAO.

And, speaking of such things, neoliberals are good at the Orwellian Newspeak:
“We really haven’t done any lobbying,” Mr. Tullman said in an interview. “I think it’s very common with every administration that when they want to talk about the automotive industry, they convene automotive executives, and when they want to talk about the Internet, they convene Internet executives.” 
Nope, not "lobbying." Just "convening."

And, trust me, there will be real shock sticker shocks we haven't yet come across in Obamacare, or at the least, promised savings that never materialize.

Here's another, not a financial one directly (yet):
The records systems sold by the biggest vendors have their fans, who argue that, among other things, the systems ease prescribing medications electronically. But these systems also have many critics, who contend that they can be difficult to use, cannot share patient information with other systems and are sometimes adding hours to the time physicians spend documenting patient care. 
So, we're not even getting what we're supposed to be paying for.

But, no matter. Like Reagan looking for a pony after finding pony shit, Obamiacs in the rank and file will believe the true gold will soon show up. Meanwhile, Glen Tullman and his wallet keep on smiling.

And, in other Obamacare news, a few Senate Dems say Team Obama is foot-dragging on some implementation issues. Maybe that's because there's no "convening."

This is why I worried so much about one aspect of Obamacare when it was put forward: the lack of cost control.

Promises of what things might do in cost control is no substitute for regulation on statuatory stipulations specifically toward that end. And, from no federal bureau of insurance regulation through no mandatory paperwork uniformity for hardcopy records and on to other things, plenty of promises don't add up to a hill of beans.

In some cases, this may have been nothing more than naivete, believing that such savings would become real. I hope they're right; I'd love to be proven wrong.

But, in other cases, and from people higher up the Team Obama ladder, like Tullman? They surely knew any promises they made were being overstated at the time they were making them, at the time they were "consulting" with America's Health Insurance Plans.

But, hey, this is the "most transparent administration in history" and I'm just a poor Obama-skeptic, more and more Obama-cynic, peon, so what do I know, right?

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