So today the New York Times ran a story about WalMart’s foray into electronic health records. According to WalMart, they are going to bundle a Dell laptop, software, installation and maintenance for $25,000 and sell this package in WalMart stores.
This tells me they don’t know ONE SINGLE THING about what is stopping physicians from using EHRs, or one thing about how physicians regard themselves (as professionals).
WalMart thinks because it was successful with the consumer play of $4.00 prescriptions that it can also be successful on the provider side. Let me just say that, having evaluated pretty much all the leading products, the software they chose isn’t one of them, and that’s only the beginning of the problem.
Here’s a quote from a doctor friend of mine who uses EHRs and even wrote one for himself. He’s not only a D.O. but also a MS in Medical Informatics. I sent him the Times story.
“You gotta love that. But $25K for a solo doc? Come on now, I figure Walmart should be selling it for $29.99 or something. Then I could pick up an EMR or 2 at the same time I get some new underwear. I really did laugh when I read that. Talk about everyone wanting a piece of the pie. What’s next, primary care at the Taco Bell check out counter? I’ll have a side of Lipitor with my grande burrito and please send the script to my pharmacy benefits manager at the Circle-K. He’ll check if it’s medically necessary after he gets done filling up the coffee and putting on some more hot dogs. I guess nothing should surprise me anymore.”
Maybe we should ask whether EHRs even solve the problem of rising medical costs and productivity in medical offices before we begin offering a “total solution” at a cut rate price.