In "Information Age," Society Has No Backup, Doctors Warn

Mar 06, 2012, 10:00 ET from Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)

TUCSON, Ariz., March 6, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The federal government would like all medical transactions to be recorded in interoperable electronic databases, and physicians who do not adopt government-compliant electronic health records systems will face progressive cuts in their Medicare fees, starting in 2015.

In the rush to computerization, pitfalls are overlooked, as explained in the spring 2012 issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons,

Privacy, an essential component of freedom, is being lost. "I am astonished by the trusting way in which people today allow everything, from their personal financial records to their personal medical records, to reside in computers connected to the Internet," writes Arthur B. Robinson, Ph.D. "Although we are assured that this information is protected by privacy software, there is a constant stream of news about failures of this software."

A bigger worry is the fragility that the computer revolution, despite all its wonderful advantages, has brought in its wake.

"If current trends continue, virtually all records of essential knowledge will reside primarily in electronic devices—devices so sophisticated that, should a few key people and facilities be lost, we would no longer have access to them," Robinson writes.

Additionally, not only medical devices but "our automobiles, our machinery, our food delivery systems, and increasingly everything that keeps us alive depends upon computer chips produced in a very few factories." Should we lose access to those key factories for any reason, essential activities would stop. Return to older methods is becoming increasingly difficult.

"We are increasingly dependent for our very lives upon a system for which there is no backup," Robinson concludes.

"Physicians should keep their books, and not destroy their paper records," advises Jane M. Orient, M.D., managing editor of the Journal.

The Journal is an official publication of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), a national organization representing physicians in all specialties, ( which was founded in 1943 to defend the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship.

SOURCE Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)