By Stuart J. Goodman, MD, MBA

Editor’s Note: Mark Sklar’s article may be available in part or in its entirety via The Wall Street Journal website.

An opinion published in the September 11, 2014, The Wall Street Journal by Dr. Mark Sklar, an assistant professor of medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center, discusses his “perspective of a physician providing daily medical care.” He believes there are many groups trying to organize physicians and that these organizations take “a very substantial percentage of collected income.” Physicians are required to use electronic medical records and there are companies benefiting from this; however physicians and patients are suffering. Dr. Sklar relates that physicians are often times typing meaningless data, something disruptive to patient care, and that physicians are not establishing the quality doctor-patient time as has always been the case in medicine.

Furthermore, there is the concern that not demonstrating “meaningful use” will lead to financial penalties. Pre-authorizations for medications, as well as testing, consume valuable time for staff and physicians and add to the costs of care. With the addition of these types of requirements, the patient and the true quality of care are forgotten.

Dr.Sklar, in his last statements, says it all: “To improve quality, we need to unchain health-care providers from the bureaucracies that are strangling them fiscally and temporally. We can better control medical costs if we strengthen physicians’ relationships with their patients rather than with their computers.”

I encourage you to read Dr. Sklar’s article and the comments at the end.

Dr. Goodman is in practice at the Parkway Neuroscience and Spine Institute in Hagerstown, Chambersburg, and Frederick, Maryland. He is also currently the President of SMA. In addition, Dr. Goodman has served as President of the Prince George’s County Medical Society, as well as President of the medical staff at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center.

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