An alternate view

My June 21 iHealthBeat column was critical of the AMA on the issue of information technology. The American College of Physicians took issue with my characterization of the “medical establishment,” although I did not mention that organization anywhere in the column. My column was limited to the AMA.

Regardless, in the interest of promoting a range of opinions, here is what ACP Senior Vice President and Washington lobbyist Bob Doherty had to say:

Contrary to your assertion that “the medical establishment has not gotten the message” regarding electronic health records (AMA Meeting Leaves IT in the Dust, iHealthBeat, June 21, 2004), some medical organizations are getting the message.

The American College of Physicians (ACP) has taken a leadership role in advocating for the adoption of health information technology (HIT).

In the past year ACP has released several papers regarding the use of information technology in medical practices. Including The Changing Face of Ambulatory Medicine — Reimbursing Physicians for Computer-Based Care (, The Paperless Medical Office: Digital Technology’s Potential for the Internist (, and Enhancing the Quality of Patient Care Through Interoperable Exchange of Electronic Healthcare Information (

ACP has also developed a highly regarded clinical decision support (CDS) tool, the Physicians’ Information and Education Resource (PIER) ( PIER aids physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of hundreds of conditions and also offers educational support to patients, with physician-selected print-outs available at the push of a button. ACP believes that PIER’s CDS software could be easily integrated with EHRs to improve the quality of patient care.

And, finally ACP has been influential in many federal regulations regarding HIT. Patricia L. Hale, MD, the chair of ACP’s Medical Informatics Subcommittee, has testified on the e-prescribing standards to the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics. Regarding the use of information technology in the Medicare Chronic Care Improvement Program, Dr. Hale has testified, and ACP has submitted comments to CMS. ACP has also drafted language for a bill to amend Title XI of the Social Security Act to achieve a national health information infrastructure.

As you can see from the above ACP is a leader in shaping policy, educating physicians, and developing practical tools to advance the use of HIT.

I welcome further comments on this issue at – NV