Wednesday, October 22, 2008

EMR donations: Who is paying the money, where is it from?

Commercial labs, including my own, are now offering six-figure "donations" of EMR (Electronic Medical Record) software, maintenance, and training to clinicians. While this is not illegal, it does bring to bear the possiblity of conflict of interest.

Just where is the money coming from ??? From patients and insurance companies of course. And unneccessary medical testing (triple immunohistochemical stains, working up multiple prostate cores when only working up the most severe is required, routine UroVysion FISH analysis on non-smokers with microhematuria) provides the excess revenue which can be skimmed off the bottom line to support these donations.

Clinicians should know that accepting EMR docations could incentivze laboratories to run unnecessary tests ultimately paid for by their patients co-pay and deductibles. Labs that do not have to make a profit for external investors have less of an incentive to overutilize lab resources.