The other day I was talking with a woman who had just switched her physician. She complained about the process of getting her records and she felt that her old physician was dragging his feet.
Her switch was prompted by a move, not dissatisfaction. However, she felt that she had betrayed the doctor and that, in turn, he was punishing her. And she’s probably right.
And this is the single biggest reason portable electronic medical records/electronic health records will never fly. Most physicians won’t embrace it. EMRs will lower the rather significant barriers physicians have constructed to maintain their patient base. Lowering the switching barriers will empower consumers, something that physicians don’t want (see Physician Takes Aim At First Amendment ).
EMRs will surely benefit patients through greater choice, better transparency and the ability to catch physicians’ prescribing mistakes. But as long as physicians perceive the risk to their revenue stream, patient convenience and patient safety will take a back seat.
I can’t think of any other industry where the consumer (the patient) takes a back seat to the vendor (the doctor).