Recently, on The Health Care Blog:
Just because my electronic systems didn’t end up costing me anything, it turns out that even though I bill Medicare less than $25,000, I’m still eligible to apply for some of the stimulus money. So just for shits and giggles, I hooked up with a government funded entity whose stated purpose in life is to help me get that money. Cool.Wow. Click the link. Read the entire post.
I’ve had a couple of visits with them so far. It turns out that my freebie EMR has features which I hadn’t bothered using yet, mainly because they didn’t seem particularly useful in the provision of medical care — that’s what I do, remember? — to patients. One of them was a so-called “Demographics” section, right below such vital information as patient name, address, phone numbers, and birth date. This section contains three pieces of information I have to enter, one from a set of radio buttons, and two from pick lists, mechanisms that allow for the collection of what is known as “structured data” instead of just information I type into the EMR “free form”.
The first item is “Ethnicity”. There are three radio button options: Hispanic, Non-hispanic, and Unspecified (the default).
The second item is “Preferred Language”, to be selected from a pick list. I can only enter one option.
The third item is “Race”, again to be selected from a pick list. They include “African or African American”, “Asian or Asian American”, “European or Caucasion American”, plus several other basically meaningless classifications. (For example, what entry do I use for an individual from the Indian subcontinent?) Unlike “Language”, I can enter as many of these options as I wish.
What? The? F?
"...features which I hadn’t bothered using yet, mainly because they didn’t seem particularly useful in the provision of medical care..."
Really? I know everyone is focused these days on the Boogeyman "government wanting these data for use in 'disparities CER' for cost and Lifestyle Control," but, I have to ask, "aren't you at all interested in analytically mining your own patient data for some stratified intel on where you might be hitting and missing?" Any statistician would kill for 4-5,000 structured data records per year (per provider) via which to gain some useful insights.
Don't Ask, Don't Know.
More to come...