The Blade's Sept. 13 editorial "Medical waste" cites a recent Institute of Medicine report that discusses how our nation is failing to use technology to reduce health-care costs by avoiding duplication of tests and care.
As physicians working as part of Mercy and its parent organization, Catholic Health Partners, we believe there are opportunities to use technology to advance efficient, high-quality care.
Mercy became a national pioneer by introducing an electronic health record with computerized physician order entry in 2004. Our commitment to quality, efficiency, and patient safety is enhanced as Mercy makes the transition to CarePATH, which uses the Epic electronic medical system/health record.
Epic is part of Mercy's ambulatory sites, including its Mercy Medical Partners physician group and several independent-affiliated physician groups.
By 2013, the medical chart will be the same whether the patient is in a Mercy hospital, ambulatory facility, or Epic physician's office.
With Epic, patients' health maintenance can be followed to indicate when mammograms, immunizations, and other preventive care measures are due. Large patient populations can be managed, so if there is a change in medication, all patients who are on that medication can be identified.
All patients who have a medical chart in Epic are encouraged to register for MyChart, which allows patients to become part of the health-care team. They can view their lab data and other medical information, and send and receive messages from their physicians and other providers.
Mercy and Catholic Health Partners work with the community and our patients, physicians, and caregivers to advance our mission and to provide value to those we are privileged to serve.
Dr. Kenneth Bertka
Vice President Physician Clinical Integration
Dr. Michael Stark
Chief Medical Information Officer Mercy Jefferson Avenue
Primary care doctors needed
It is not the absolute number of physicians, but rather the disproportionately high ratio of specialists to primary-care physicians, that has created fragmented health care.
Medical schools should provide incentives to medical students who seek careers in primary care.
An adequate supply of primary-care physicians and coordination of care are key to reducing costs and achieving better outcomes while maintaining high-quality health care. This would help limit repeat trips to emergency rooms and urgent-care facilities, where care is disjointed and expensive.
Adoption of electronic medical records, with rapid growth of preventive and wellness care, will reduce the amount of wasted health-care dollars.
Dr. Riaz Chaudhary
President Oregon Clinic Inc. Oregon
UT leaders must be held responsible
With further information emerging about the kidney transplant debacle at the University of Toledo Medical Center, one conclusion is clear ("Fault found earlier with transplant program; Low survival rate among citations," Sept. 16).
UT President Lloyd Jacobs and Dr. Jeffrey Gold, UTMC chancellor and vice president for biosciences and health affairs, should be placed on paid administrative leave. The university's board of trustees should hire an outside, unbiased expert to determine what in their leadership may have led to this tragedy.
Ultimate responsibility rests at the top.
Editor's note: The writer is a professor emeritus of family medicine and psychiatry at the University of Toledo.
High schoolers' writing defended
Your Sept. 15 article "Tech tools fail to help teenagers' writing" reported that only 27 percent of 12th graders in American high schools were able to write a satisfying and effective narrative for a national writing test. As an English teacher at Anthony Wayne High School, I have several points to make in defense of our country's high school students.
The article stated that this year was the first the national test was given via word processor. Students were expected to compose an effective response to a prompt in 30 minutes.
Was software provided for the students to organize their thoughts before they composed a written response? Were students taught to use prewriting software that I hope was provided? Or were students allowed to use pencil and paper to create a helpful graphic organizer?
Technology can be a motivator in many areas of students' learning. But there is nothing wrong with old-fashioned pencil and paper when it comes to organizing and expressing ideas.
A young person's creative spirit and writing voice need not be brought out only by a computer. What are we coming to if we gauge the quality of writing by how well a student uses a computer?