To be or not to be a meaningful user of electronic health records? That is the question that has many doctors scratching their heads, says David Blumenthal, whose job as national coordinator for health information technology includes whipping up physicians' enthusiasm for IT.
To that end, he pulls out many if not all the stops in his latest blog, posted Tuesday.
Herewith Dr. Blumenthal's seven pom-poms for curing doctors' doubts about electronic health records:
Empathy. "I don't want to minimize the obstacles. When I started using an EHR, I found it challenging ..."
Affirmation. "But I am glad I did it. ... My EHR made me a better doctor."
Heroism. "Physicians don't go into medicine because it's easy. They go through grueling training. ... They constantly have to grow."
Inevitability. "The EHR is just another of the transitions. ... Positive change is often disruptive, but it is irresistible nevertheless."
Self-interest/selflessness. "The sooner physicians start using an EHR, the sooner they and their patients will realize its benefits."
Money. "Physicians can take the leap now with financial and technical help from the government. Or they can do it on their own (facing a financial penalty) in five years."
Youth Appeal. "Young, talented physicians ... will expect and demand that their own medical home have a modern information system. ... Wait and the cream of the recruiting crop will pass you by."
"Become part of the future. Become a meaningful user of an electronic health record."